October marks sudden infant death syndrome awareness month

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signed a proclamation today recognizing October as Mississippi’s Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month.

The proclamation states “SIDS is the sudden death of an infant that is unexpected by history and unexplained by a thorough postmortem examination that includes a complete autopsy, death scene investigation and a review of the medical history.” Mississippi Department of Health officials say the declaration is definitely important to the health of Mississippi families and their new babies.

SIDS accounted for 55 deaths in Mississippi in 2002, the most recent year health statistics are available, and it is the major cause of death in the United States for infants one week to one year old.

The Mississippi Department of Health offers support programs to families who have suffered the loss of a beloved baby to SIDS. “We supply current information about SIDS to the medical community, child care professionals and the general public, particularly expectant parents,” said Dr. Tom Carey, pediatric medical consultant for the Health Department.

Through SIDS Awareness Month, health officials want to promote infant health and survival during the first year of life and deliver the message that SIDS can impact any Mississippi family.

Dr. Carey says that some simple steps taken by family members and the community can help reduce SIDS. “Parents should place a baby on his or her back on a firm mattress to sleep, and eliminate all smoking prior to and after birth around the baby,” said Dr. Carey.

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