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David Morgan
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Department of Health offers guidance to prevent infant deaths

November 2, 2021 - 2019 Novel Coronavirus - Awareness


 SANTA FE - The New Mexico Department of Health reminds parents and caregivers of the risks of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). 

Approximately 3,400 infants die each year in the United States from sleep-related causes, with the largest share of infant deaths from 1 month to 11 months of age. In New Mexico, there were 137 Sleep Related Infant Deaths from 2015 – 2020, an average of one every 23 days. Of those, 86% were identified as being preventable. 

Since 1992, when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first advised that infants be placed on their back to sleep, sleep-related deaths declined by 45 percent. Before 1992, 11,000 babies a year died suddenly and without explanation in the U.S.  

Some parents still believe babies can safely sleep on their stomachs, and/or co-sleep with parents, siblings, or other caregivers in beds. The reality is that it is NOT safe for babies to co-sleep or sleep on their stomachs. Both sleeping on the stomach and co-sleeping in a bed (instead of alone in a crib) increase the risk for suffocation. 

The New Mexico Department of Health recommends parents follow guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics:  

·     Always place baby on their back to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SUID and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

·     Use a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety approved crib*, covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft items in the sleep area

·     Breast feed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS

·     Share your room with the baby. Keep your baby in your room close to your bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for baby's first year, but at least for the first six months

·     Do not put soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, or loose bedding under baby, over baby, or anywhere in baby’s sleep area

·     Consider giving your baby a pacifier for naps and nighttime sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS

·     Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep

·     Avoid products that go against safe sleep recommendations

·     Do not use heart or breathing monitors 

·     Birthing mothers and parents should also follow these guidelines to reduce the risk 

·     Get regular prenatal care during pregnancy

·     Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and using marijuana or illegal drugs during pregnancy or after the baby is born

·     Do not smoke during pregnancy and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby

·     Follow health care provider guidance on your baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups

·     Give your baby plenty of tummy time when they are awake and someone is watching 

Free Safe Sleep Baby Kits are available through the Early Childhood Services Center at the University of New Mexico. For more information, visit search or call 1-800-691-9067.

To learn more about safe sleeping for your baby, you can check out the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Safe to Sleep website, or visit


*A crib, bassinet, portable crib, or pack & play (aka ‘play yard’) that follows the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recommended. For information on crib safety, contact the CPSC at 1-800-638-2772 or

Media Contact

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Versión en Español

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El Departamento de Salud ofrece orientación para prevenir las muertes de bebés