According to The Sacramento Bee, an analysis showed black babies in Sacramento County were about five times more likely to die in their sleep than white babies between 2010 and 2015.

Between 2010 and 2015, nearly half of the 79 infants who died during sleep were African American, the analysis found. During that same time period, African Americans made up just 11 percent of the child population.

Across California, black babies also are much more likely to die in their sleep than white, Latino and Asian babies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These “sudden unexpected infant deaths,” as medical groups have coined them, occur during sleep and often without witnesses. Though for decades such deaths were considered random and unpreventable, doctors have changed their tune in the last decade, noting that most of the deaths occur in unsafe sleeping environments.

Public health officials now recommend that parents lay babies down alone, on their backs, in cribs bare of anything except a tightly fitted sheet to reduce the risk of sudden unexpected infant death. Though the guidelines are clear, they haven’t made their way to many of Sacramento’s African American families, said Dr. Ethan Cutts, a Kaiser Permanente pediatrician.

View the full story at