Death from Suffocation

Today I opened my email and received the following email titled, Campaign Takes Aim at Infant Sleeping Deaths from the Texas Health and Human Services. It is a reminder to everyone that babies are to sleep on their backs with nothing that can suffocate them including their own parents.

Campaign Takes Aim at Infant Sleeping Deaths

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is kicking off a statewide campaign to increase awareness about the dangers of adults co-sleeping with small children.

Over the last five months, 54 Texas children have died while sleeping with an adult or older child. In addition, Child Protective Services investigates an average of 170 cases a year involving children who die while sharing a bed with an adult or older child.

Starting this week, the DFPS Prevention and Early Intervention Program will run a public service campaign that includes seven consecutive months of mobile, online, and social media advertising – plus a three-week TV campaign in all Texas media markets. The TV spots start next week, featuring a new TV ad that you can watch now on the DFPS You Tube Channel.

Bed sharing, also known as co-sleeping, increases the risk of children, primarily infants, dying in their sleep. Infants should sleep:

  • Alone – Not with an adult, child, or animal. Bed sharing, which is sleeping with a baby on a bed, couch, floor, or in a chair, is dangerous.
  • On their back – Not on their side or tummy. Place babies on their backs for every sleep time, including naps and at night.
  • In a crib – Put babies on a firm surface, preferably in a safety-approved crib with a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet. Do not use bedding (such as bumper pads, pillows, blankets) or allow clutter in the sleep environment (such as toys or stuffed animals). Safety-approved bassinets, play yards, and portable cribs are also acceptable.

The Texas Pediatrics Society says the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib or bassinet near a parent’s bed – notin a parent’s bed. Parents will find short video lessons, safe sleep tips, and statistics on bed-sharing on the campaign website,


Suffocation has been identified as one of the leading causes of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID).

Here are a couple great little videos from Room to Breathe. Please take the time to watch. They offer some little tips to remember when putting babies to sleep.

Room to Breathe: Unstuffed

Room to Breathe: Ticket to Dreamland

According to the CDC, “Each year in the United States, there are about 3,500 Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). These deaths occur among infants less than 1 year old and have no immediately obvious cause.

The three commonly reported types of SUID are

  • SIDS. About 1,500 infants died of SIDS in 2014.
  • Unknown cause.
  • Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.”

Breakdown of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death by Cause, 2014

	The breakdown of sudden unexpected infant deaths by cause in 2014 is as follows: 44% of cases were categorized as sudden infant death syndrome, followed by unknown cause (31%), and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed (25%).

Therefore, 25% of unexpected deaths are from suffocation or strangulation in a bed that most likely could be prevented.  That is 875 babies dying that mom, dad, or caretaker could have prevented.  Help reduce this number and remember the steps taken directly from

  1. Don’t put anything in the crib!
    • Adding bumper pads, blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals to your baby’s sleep surface can greatly increase the risk of suffocation or strangulation.
    • Additional mattresses or cushions in a crib or play yard (i.e. Pack ‘n Play) are risky too.   Some surfaces may feel hard or thin, but they are made to keep your baby safe while they sleep. Your baby will be comfortable.
  2. Keep blankets or covers away from baby’s face.
  3. Don’t let a baby sleep or nap with adults or other children.
  4. Don’t ever sleep with a baby if you have been drinking or are taking medications or illegal drugs.
  5. If you get sleepy, put the baby down in a crib or another firm surface before you take a nap.  This is especially important if you are sitting on a chair, sofa or other comfortable surface where you might roll over on your baby and suffocate him or her.
  6. Don’t leave your baby sleeping in a car seat or bouncers or similar device. Small babies can’t hold their heads up and may suffocate if they fall asleep in a sitting position.

Click here for an additional pamphlet from Room to Breathe to hand out to parents as a friendly reminder on sleeping safety.

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I am an educator in every facet of my life. I teach early childhood education in the classroom and online as well as develop online training and professional development for employers. I also teach homeschoolers literature and homeschool my 17 year old son who graduates in May.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Very useful information. A while back, one of my friends had put her infant for a nap with a very soft and warm blanket now knowing the dangers that could happen. A few minutes later she went to check on him and found the blanket covering his little face struggling to breath .Thank God she got there on time. From that day, she signed up for a baby class to learn more about babies. What to do with them and what not to do with them.

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