Spokane Regional Health District and Collaborators Launch Campaign to Reduce the Risk of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death

Spokane Regional Health District and Collaborators Launch Campaign to Reduce the Risk of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death

Nov 08, 2016

For more information, conatct Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539 or

SPOKANE, Wash. –  Nov. 8, 2016 –  Thanks to campaigns in recent years that encouraged parents to put infants on their backs to sleep, the rate of sudden unexplained infant deaths (SUID) has declined. Yet, the rate of other sleep-related causes of infant death—deaths related to where a baby sleeps—has risen, in large part, due to unrecognized dangers in baby’s sleep environment.

To better inform parents and caregivers about the dangers of sharing a bed with a baby and reinforce what an optimal sleep environment looks like for a baby, Spokane Regional Health District and its collaborators, Providence Health Care and Inland Northwest SIDS/SUID Foundation, today launched the Stay Close, Sleep Apart education campaign.

In recent years, 27 Spokane County babies died from SUID—about 3,500 babies die each year in the U.S. In local deaths where a public health nurse talked with affected families, over half of these babies were sleeping with an adult or child.

Stay Close, Sleep Apart includes messages about the ABCs of safe infant sleep, including:

  • ’A’ is for alone: Baby should never be in a bed with another person where he could be rolled on and smothered.
  • 'B’ is for on the baby's back: An infant should be placed to sleep on their back, never on their side or stomach.
  • ‘C’ is for crib: Always put baby to sleep in a crib with only a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a 60-second spot that shows parents and caregivers these ABCs of safe sleep. Multiple versions of an easy-to-understand rack card are also available on the campaign’s website at

Campaign messages mirror updated recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) specific to safe infant sleep. Numerous other federal health and social service agencies have come forward in support of the recommendations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urging everyone who cares for infants younger than 1 year of age—parents, grandparents, family members, child care providers, health care providers, and others—to learn about the updated recommendations for safe infant sleep. Nine of the recommendations relate directly to a baby’s sleep environment including placing baby alone to sleep on a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a crib.

The updated recommendations also emphasize that couches and armchairs can be very dangerous places for babies. Research described in the recommendations suggests that this is especially true if adults fall asleep as they feed, comfort, or bond with baby while on these surfaces.

Again, Stay Close, Sleep Apart campaign materials are currently available at Information can also be found at SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.