Every year, between 40 and 50 babies in New York City die from a preventable, sleep-related injury. Black families are twice as likely to have their baby die before their first birthday than white families and infants living in the Bronx and Brooklyn die at higher rates than other boroughs in the first year of life.
The NYC Infant Safe Sleep Initiative aims to prevent sleep-related infant injury deaths and address long-standing disparities to promote and protect the health and well-being of our youngest and most vulnerable New Yorkers. The Initiative's primary prevention focus, collaborations and partnerships aim to achieve equity in infant survival and close the black/white infant mortality gap by empowering communities with the highest rates of sleep-related infant injury deaths.
The ACS Safe Sleep Unit in the Division of Child and Family Well-Being provides free education and resources to help parents and caregivers of babies, child welfare professionals, clinicians, and advocates understand the risks and avoid preventable sleep-related infant fatalities. Our citywide public awareness campaigns, outreach activities, and free training, information and resources educate New Yorkers about potentially fatal practices like bed-sharing or stomach sleeping to ensure all children have a healthy, safe start in life and no family suffers the devastating loss of a child during sleep.
Please view the resources below for information regarding our free training offerings and how to request training for your group or organization:
A sleep-related injury death is the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year old that occurs because of where and/or how they were placed to sleep. Sleep-related infant injury death is not the same as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or "crib death." SIDS is the natural death of a baby that cannot be explained after a careful medical review of the case. Unlike SIDS, sleep-related infant injury deaths involve accidents that can be explained and are mostly preventable.
Here are the most recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), issued in October 2016, for where and how to safely place your baby to sleep:
Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep.
Avoid sharing a bed with your baby.
Use a firm sleep surface with a fitted sheet made for that specific product.
Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any other items that could increase the risk of suffocation out of the baby's sleep area.
What is Safe Sleep Anyway?
Is Bed Sharing Safe?
Should I Bed Share If My Apartment is Cold?
Should I Bed Share When I'm Breast Feeding?
Why Should My Baby Sleep on His Back?
What About Side Sleeping? Is That Safe?
How Do I Prepare a Safe Crib for Sleeping?
What If My Family Doesn't Practice Safe Sleep?
If I Break the Safe Sleep Rules Occasionally, What's the Harm?
What If I Don't Have Enough Space for a Crib?
Baby Gear: Where Can my Baby Sleep?
Safe Sleep Summit 2021 (PDF)
In many ways, the Coronavirus pandemic has amplified pre-existing health inequities for families of color, which stem from the effects of systemic racism on the health of black families in particular. Black families are twice as likely as white families to have their baby die in the first year of life and sadly, NYC still loses 41 babies each year due to this persistent, yet preventable problem.
In our first-ever virtual Infant Safe Sleep Summit held in October 2020 during Safe Sleep Awareness Month, weekly presenters focused on the theme: "Closing the Gap: An Intersectional Approach to Reducing Infant Mortality," to examine the intersecting influences that adversely impact infant survival.
During this webcast series experts, advocates and practitioners shared up-to-date analysis on how institutional racism affects infant mortality. The 2020 Safe Sleep Summit Briefing Book, produced for the series, celebrates a decade of action focused on reducing sleep-related injuries and death during a child's first year of life. It includes outreach strategies, best practices and resources; and honors six practitioners who have heroically championed safe sleep throughout the year. Coming soon: video documentation of the sessions.