A baby suffocates while sleeping once every five days in Los Angeles County, making unsafe sleeping the county's leading cause of infant mortality, according to research from two health education groups.
Safe Sleep for Baby: Key Safety Tips, Learning Course
Details on the data from ICAN and First 5 LA were released at a Wednesday morning news conference with county health officials. The news conference is part of a public health initiative called "Safe Sleep for Baby."
The unsafe sleeping environments noted in the research include sharing a bed with parents or sleeping in a cluttered crib, according to county authorities.
Among the findings -- between 2008 and 2011, more babies died from suffocation due to unsafe sleep than from all other reasons for accidental deaths for children younger than 14 combined. During the past three years in LA County, more than 200 infants under the age of 1 have died because of "unsafe sleep practices," according to ICAN.
- Share a room, not a bed
- Babies should sleep in a crib or bassinet
- Place babies on their backs
- Provide space to breathe, removing pillows, bumpers, blankets, toys and other items
"Nothing else is more dangerous to our babies than the way they're put to sleep," said ICAN executive director Deanne Tilton Durfee. "Not drowning, not poisoning, not motor vehicle accidents, not child abuse and neglect."
Public service announcements are scheduled to air later this month. The announcements feature children who have died because of unsafe sleeping conditions.