Soft bedding continues to claim infant lives despite warnings, study finds
Updated 1119 GMT (1919 HKT) April 27, 2021
(CNN)Amanda Saucedo did everything the natural parenting blogs she read told her to do before she brought her newborn son Ben into her bed to co-sleep in October 2014.
"I was a single mom of two kids, so I took sleep any way I could get it," said Saucedo, who was 27 at the time. "I was like, 'These people say it's safe if I take these precautions,' so that's what I did -- only one pillow, one blanket and only the mom in the bed, with a baby that is exclusively breastfed."
Saucedo had successfully co-slept with Ben's older brother, 3-year-old Trae, and thought she was even more cautious with Ben.
But on the morning Ben turned 30 days old, Saucedo woke to find him dead -- a victim of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
"There wasn't anything on him when I woke," Saucedo said. "We were sleeping on my bed, so of course the mattress isn't going to be as firm as a crib mattress. So it could have compromised his airway, or maybe I was exhaling in his face and he wasn't getting enough oxygen. I'm not really sure.
"Instantly I blamed myself, of course," she said. "Even on the 911 call, I told them 'I know you're not supposed to sleep with babies but it was the only way he would sleep.' "
SIDS numbers aren't declining
Despite decades of public health messages designed to prevent sudden unexpected infant death, or SUID, some 3,500 babies die from it every year in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That makes SUID the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 1 year of age.
(SIDS is a subset of SUID. After an investigation, a SUID death might be from suffocation via airway blockage or tangled in bedding and blankets, infection, choking, injury or a cardiac or metabolic dysfunction. When the death cannot be explained, the baby is said to have died from SIDS.)
"These deaths are still happening -- and they happen to well-meaning parents," said Dr. Rachel Moon, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics task force on SIDS and authored the AAP policy statement on safe infant sleep.
"We have remained at the same rate of sleep-related deaths since around 1998," she added. "An