DHEC says accidental infant deaths up nearly 40 percent in SC - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

DHEC says accidental infant deaths up nearly 40 percent in SC

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Accidental infant deaths are up 37 percent in South Carolina and the state Department of Health and Environmental Control is reminding parents to follow recommended sleep practices to prevent them.

"The infant mortality rate in South Carolina saw a slight increase from 7.4 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011 to 7.6 deaths in 2012, due in part to a substantial increase in sleep-related accidents," said Dr. Lisa Waddell, deputy director of Preventive Health Services at DHEC. "Most of these accidents can be prevented with safe sleep practices."

New data released Wednesday by DHEC shows the number of infant deaths caused by accidents increased by 36.7 percent. 41 kids died by accident in 2012, compared to 30 accidental deaths reported in 2011.

Suffocation and strangulation in bed accounted for nearly all of these accidents, rising from 21 deaths in 2011 to 39 in 2012.

However, the number of children who died from sudden infant death syndrome dropped from 45 in 2011 to 22 in 2012. And the number of infants who died from maternal complications of pregnancy dropped  from 29 to 22.

Dr. Waddell said one of the best ways to prevent sleep related deaths is by following the A,B,C's of Safe Sleep – leave your baby Alone on their Back in their Crib. She also recommends never smoking around your baby, as second-hand smoke can contribute to sudden, unexplained infant death.

Click here for recommended safe sleep practices for infants.

Click here for DHEC data regarding child deaths.

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