Tennessee Health Officials Say Old Sleeping Habits Of Babies Contribute On Infant Mortality Rate

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald March 28, 04:13 am
A photo showing a baby inside a crib. Letting a baby sleep alone inside a crib is one of the ABCs of safe sleeping.
(Photo : Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Tennessee health officials claimed in a new study that the old sleeping practices of infants contributed to the high mortality rate. The findings came amid the growing number of states adopting Finland's baby box project.

The new research found older parents advised their kids who had their own children to let babies sleep on their stomachs and share the bed with their newborns. Due to the many cases regarding infant deaths, however, officials advised new parents to follow the ABCs of safe sleeping habits.

These safe sleeping practices include letting babies sleep alone, on their backs and in cribs. These habits are reportedly part of the Safe Sleep program that was launched in 2013.

Rachel Heitmann, the director of injury retention and detection with the Tennessee Department of Health, said they have very few deaths in Tennessee classified under Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS after the program. The nurse manager for labor and delivery at Erlanger East hospital, Angie Phillips, said they also urged parents not to rely on the advice of older people to let babies sleep on their stomach as it is a contributory factor to deaths related to SIDS, Times Free Press reported.

The clinical administrator for women's services at Erlanger, Traci Josephsen, added, "At that time, we didn't know which way was best, but now we have the statistics. What I say to my moms is that your parents did the best they knew at the time, but now we know this is the best way to raise our children to keep them safe." Statistics showed many deaths of infants were due to parents accidentally rolling over them or they died from suffocation because of the blanket their parents used.

It seems that Tennessee is the next state to follow the footsteps of New Jersey, Alabama and Ohio regarding the use of baby boxes. Tennessee officials advised parents not to place toys inside their baby's cribs but they did not officially announce if they will also give baby boxes to new parents, Chronicle Council shared.

The other causes of death in infants in Tennessee include smoking of the mother and being prematurely born. Genetic defect is also one of the causes.

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