Many Minnesota toddler deaths linked to unsafe sleep positions


Minnesota recorded 54 unexplained toddler deaths in 2015 — about the identical as prior years — however all besides one concerned a baby in an unsafe sleeping surroundings, in keeping with a brand new evaluation from the Minnesota Department of Health.

State well being officers used the findings to underscore their warnings to oldsters to put their infants to sleep on their backs and in uncluttered cribs.

The division launched the evaluation Wednesday throughout an occasion in Duluth to focus on efforts at St. Luke’s hospital, the place workers are educated yearly on protected toddler sleep positions and oldsters are recommended as properly earlier than going dwelling with their new infants.

“Infant deaths from unsafe sleep practices are preventable and we know training is critical,” stated Emily Piper, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The evaluation discovered 54 sudden unexplained toddler deaths in 2015, and 53 that occurred whereas infants slept in unsafe environments. In most cases, the infants had unfastened objects comparable to pillows or blankets round them, or weren’t sleeping on agency surfaces comparable to crib mattresses. Those current suffocation hazards.

In half of the deaths, the infants have been sleeping on beds or sofas with different folks. One in 4 concerned infants positioned on their sides or their bellies, slightly than on their backs, as is really helpful.

Infant deaths in baby care services have dropped sharply since 2012, following a Star Tribune investigative collection on the issue and modifications in state inspection, coaching and licensing practices. The state recorded 45 deaths in licensed baby care services — largely in licensed properties — from 2008 by way of 2012. There have been simply 10 since then.

However, the general fee of sudden unexplained toddler deaths hasn’t modified in Minnesota — hovering since 2000 round eight deaths per 100,00zero youngsters born annually.

Some mother and father have been reluctant to surrender favored sleeping practices — whereas some infants have medical wants comparable to digestive issues that require them to be positioned to sleep on their stomachs.

Cultural variations on sleep practices seem like an element. The charges of sudden surprising toddler deaths are twice as excessive for infants born to black or American Indian moms. Economic elements additionally play a job, given the prices of crib mattresses and “sleep sack” pajamas which can be most popular over unfastened blankets for tucking infants into mattress.

Nearly one in 10 new moms report that their well being care suppliers haven’t talked to them about protected sleep positions, in keeping with latest knowledge from the Minnesota Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.

Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the state well being commissioner, urged docs and hospitals to observe the instance of St. Luke’s, which obtained a nationwide certification for its coaching on protected sleep practices.



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