Dr. Kyran Quinlan and colleagues at Rush issue an urgent call for prevention strategies for sleep-related infant deaths in his viewpoint, “Protecting Infants From Sleep-Related Deaths” published in JAMA Pediatrics, reports News Medical.

“Approximately 3,700 sudden unexpected infant deaths occur each year,” said Quinlan, associate professor and division director of general pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center. “These infant deaths all occur before the child’s first birthday, with 90 percent occurring within six months.”

While infant deaths from sudden infant death syndrome and suffocation significantly declined following the 1992 American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation regarding sleep position and the National Institutes of Health-led Back to Sleep campaign, the number of sleep-related deaths has now plateaued for nearly 20 years. Leading to a decrease in infant deaths, the campaign included safe sleep practices such as place the baby on his or her back to sleep, use a firm and flat sleep surface separate designed for infants, and not to place soft objects or loose bedding in the infant’s sleep area.