Health Officials and B’more for Health Babies in Baltimore are partnering together to create an initiative through which they can urge parents and families to follow some safe practices that will ensure their child’s well-being. The practices are formed as precaution measurements that can be taken to reduce the spike in numbers of sleep-related infant deaths.
The previous year 2016, had been the lowest infant sleep-related death where only 7 babies die in their sleep. However, this year in 2017 the number has gone up to 12 in Baltimore City. Previously, Baltimore had experienced a record high number of infant sleep-related deaths back in 2009, when 27 infants died in their sleep.
The lowest infant mortality rate on record of Baltimore City was back in 2015 with 8.4 per 1,000 live births. There was a 38% decrease in the number after the implementation of B’more for healthy babies program in 2009. The major decline in infant sleep-related death was greatly contributed by the decline.
Mayor Catherine E. Pugh said, “We have made progress in reducing sleep-related infant deaths in Baltimore, but this we took a step back.”
About the new method being introduced, she said, “All committed partners across our city have to continue to educate parents about the A-B-C-D method to healthy sleep to keep our babies safe.”
The second leading cause of infant mortality in Baltimore is due to sleep-related infant deaths after complications relating to premature birth and low birth weight of babies.
Stats show that between 2009-2006 almost 122 babies died in their sleep in Baltimore City alone. Most of the cases (116 of 122) were the result of babies sleeping in an unsafe environment. This included infants that die while sleeping on an adult bed, a sofa, in soft bedding or on their stomach/side with heavy blankets or pillows in their cribs.
The B’more for Healthy Babies (BHB) program is led by partner agencies which include the Baltimore City Health Department, Family League of Baltimore, and Health Care Access Maryland. They partner with more than 150 other agencies from various sectors like the corporate sector, non-profit, academic, and philanthropic and the government sector.
BHB launched the “SLEEP SAFE” campaign in 2010. The aim of the campaign is to encourage parents to put their babies to sleep following the A-B-C-D method. The A-B-C-D method means, “Alone. Back. Crib. Don’t Smoke. No Exceptions.” The program has led to a dramatic decrease in the number of infant deaths.
Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner, said, “We appreciate all of our partners who continue to help us spread the word about the ABCs of Sleep: babies should be put to sleep Alone, on their backs, in cribs, no smoking, and no exceptions.”
She also said, “As a new mother of a three-month-old, I know that women receive all types of conflicting advice, so we want to be clear: we can save lives by following these simple, science-based ABCDs of Safe Sleep. We have a moral imperative to ensure that families have the knowledge and resources so that babies can thrive.”