The rate of accidental suffocation deaths among babies increased fourfold over the past two decades, according to a new study, despite a national campaign to encourage safe infant sleeping.

Authors of the study, which appears today in the journal Pediatrics, say the nationwide increase probably is the result of more thorough investigations and changes in how deaths are classified. Nevertheless, the researchers and local medical experts said the figures reflect a continuing problem and highlight concerns about whether babies should sleep in the same beds as their parents or siblings.

“These deaths are likely preventable,” said Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, an epidemiologist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of the study. “So this problem is ongoing, and we should not divert our attention. … We need an infusion of more efforts to make them reduce further.”

Researchers have long studied Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a term that refers to infant deaths that cannot be explained after a medical investigation. Shapiro-Mendoza’s study sought to find out if a newer, more specific category of infant death – by strangulation or suffocation – was increasing.

Full story: Don’t share bed with infant, parents told



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