Report Sheds Light on Infant Suffocation

The study also finds that black male infants less than 4 months of age are most affected by ASSB, for reasons Shapiro-Mendoza said are still unclear.

Creating a Safer Sleep Space

But what is known is that parents can take steps to reduce the chance that their baby will die from suffocation or strangulation.

"We recommend room sharing instead of bed sharing," said Laura Reno, vice president of public affairs for First Candle, an organization devoted to parental education. "[Parents need to] learn how to create a safe sleep zone, making sure babies sleep in a separate space on their back, on a firm mattress, free from any soft bedding."

She added that if parents do not want to sleep too far away from their baby, they can place that safe sleep space right next to their bed.

"It will protect [the baby] and promote breastfeeding," Reno said.

Dr. Suresh Kotogal, a professor of neurology and a pediatric sleep specialist at Mayo Clinic, agreed.

"[This study] will fuel interest in this area again," Kotogal said. "[Safe] sleeping environments need to be emphasized by all primary care physicians and at the time babies [are] going home from the hospital."

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