Infant Sleeping-Related Deaths Up in Tampa Bay, Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe

Natalie Taylor | Tampa Bay's Morning Blend | ABC Action News

Sep 16, 2022

We’re seeing an increase in infant deaths from unsafe sleeping in Tampa Bay. We’re getting some helpful tips to ensure your kids are safe while sleeping.

Dr. Kelly Devers, Hillsborough County Medical Examiner, and Dr. Ashley McPhie, Chief Medical Officer, Tampa Family Health join us to share helpful tips to ensure your child is safe while sleeping.

In 2021, there were 11 child deaths due to infant unsafe sleep – which is an increase from last year, according to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner,

In the last 8 years, 190 infants have died from unsafe sleep across Tampa Bay.

Dr. Devers tells us these are 100% preventable deaths. She says she’s seeing cases where babies are dying because their cribs are full of stuff, or they get wedged between the couch. Infants lack the muscle control needed to move their necks if something is blocking their airways.

Dr. Ashely McPhie says Black infants are two times more likely to die from sleep-related causes.

They also strongly recommend infants do not sleep with pillow-top mattresses, comforters, fluffy pillows, and stuffed animals. These pose a danger to infants in cribs as well as adult beds.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants 6 months and younger should practice the ABCs of safe sleep. The safest way for infants to sleep is alone on their backs in a crib. This minimizes the risk of the infant suffocating, especially if they have not developed neck muscle control. Babies should be put to sleep on their backs in a crib with a tight-fitting crib sheet and firm mattress.

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