Growing number of US infants under 1 dying of suffocation: 4 findings

In 2015, unintentional suffocation caused 87 percent of deaths due to unintentional injury among children younger than one year old in the U.S., according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

"It may be that parents are not following 'safe sleep' recommendations to place infants in beds without stuffed animals, soft blankets, pillows, and other items that could cause suffocation," study co-author David Schwebel, PhD, told Reuters. "It may also be that we have dangerous items on the market and in our homes, and they need to be removed."

Here are four findings from the study.

1. From 1999 to 2015, the suffocation death rate for children younger than one year grew from 12.4 to 28.3 fatalities for every 1,000 U.S. infants.

2. In 2015, there were 1,100 infant deaths due to suffocation. Most of these suffocation deaths happened when infants were in bed.

3. The study found suffocation and strangulation deaths increased for both male and female infants, regardless of race, ethnicity or whether they lived in urban or rural communities.

4. The researchers noted some of the increase in suffocation deaths may be attributed to a change in how these fatalities are categorized. For example, some deaths that were connected to sleep-related causes at the beginning of the study, such as sudden infant death syndrome, may have been categorized as accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed by the study's end.

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