Baltimore City Health Commissioner Issues Statement in Response to Updated Infant Sleep Guidelines

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BALTIMORE, MD (October 25, 2016) – Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen issued the following statement in response to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ release of updated safe sleep guidelines for infants:

“We applaud the American Academy of Pediatrics for issuing these updated guidelines. We must do everything we can to ensure the health of wellbeing of our youngest and most vulnerable residents: our babies.

“Since 2009, we have been encouraging safe sleep practices through B'more for Healthy Babies, a public-private partnership led by the Baltimore City Health Department, the Family League of Baltimore, and more than 100 public and private partners to ensure that all babies are born at a healthy weight, full-term, and ready to thrive in healthy families.

“B’more for Healthy Babies relies on credible messengers to share clear and concise information about safe sleep practices via mass media campaigns, community outreach and engagement, and provider education. The messages encourage parents to put their babies to sleep following the A-B-C-D method: ‘On their Back. In a Crib. Don’t smoke. No Exceptions.’ These efforts are combined with improved public policies, efficient use of community resources, home visiting programs, and other services to improve the health of babies in Baltimore City.

“In 2015, Baltimore City experienced the lowest infant mortality rate on record: 8.4 per 1,000 live births—a 19 percent decline from 2014. Since the implementation of B'more for Healthy Babies in 2009, infant mortality in Baltimore City has declined by 38 percent, while the rate for African American infants has reduced by nearly 50 percent during same time period.

“Sleep-related deaths are largely preventable, and we have a moral imperative to ensure that families have the knowledge and resources so that babies can thrive. Through collaboration and partnership like B’more for Healthy Babies, we can have a collective impact and save lives.”