The North Bronx Healthcare Network and the Bronx Regional Perinatal Forum hosted a conference in December at Jacobi Medical Center to address the growing concerns surrounding Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.
The goal of the conference was to raise awareness of issues surrounding SUID and educate the over 100 members of the medical community that were in attendance. Through this it is hoped they will spread their new-gained knowledge to patients and Bronx residents through community outreach.
“Our responsibility as New York City’s public healthcare system is profound,” noted Dr. Susan Gross, chairperson for Obstetrics and Gynecology at North Bronx Healthcare Network. “If we are going to have a healthy society we need to begin early.”
Many reported cases of SUID are a result of accidental suffocation due to unsafe sleep practices. According to Sandra Asanjarani, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Associate Director of Hospitals, North Bronx Health Care Network, the Bronx had the second highest number of SUIDs in the first half of 2008, second only to Brooklyn by a very small margin.
Some suggested safety measures include keeping the crib empty of any objects, such as crib bumpers, pillows, blanket and stuffed animals, keeping the infant in a smoke-free environment, never allowing the infant to sleep on a sofa or regular bed with another child or adult, not overdressing the child which may lead to overheating, refraining from pacifier use until age one and removing it when the child is sleeping, and if a blanket is necessary placing it below the infant’s waist.
Myths and common misconceptions were addressed during the conference as well.
“A lot of parents worry their child will develop a flat head if left to lie on their backs, but we encourage the parents to shift the baby’s head position while asleep,” stated Asanjarani. “We also encourage tummy time while the child is awake with an alert adult to help them develop motor coordination.”
“At this point, I want to see attention brought to this issue by everyone to help eliminate SUID, even one death is one to many,” said Asanjarani. “We need to come together to decrease this risk. The best part and the most tragic part of this situation is that it can be prevented.”