According to a recent study, the first year of the COVID-19 epidemic saw an increase in the number of sudden or unexpected deaths among black infants.
According to the study, which examined the data for newborn fatalities in 2020, the increase in the unexpected deaths of black infants was noted as infant mortality overall decreased to a historic low.
Thousands of babies die unexpectedly every year. These deaths are called sudden unexpected infant deaths, or SUIDs. CNN says that SUID is a broad term that includes SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), unintentional suffocation or strangulation in bed, and other deaths that can’t be explained.
Figures show roughly 1 out of every 6 infant deaths were termed SUIDs. Out of the total number of SUIDs in 2020, 41% were attributed to SIDS. Furthermore, 27% of the infant deaths were attributed to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, while 31% were classified as deaths from unknown causes.
The study pointed out that the SUID rate for white babies in the year 2020 dropped to the lowest it has ever been since 2017. However, the SUID rate for black babies in 2020 was the highest since 2017.
The analysis found that the SUID rates for different races and ethnicities stayed mostly the same, but the data for 2020 showed some surprising changes.
Over the years, American Indians have continued to have the highest infant death rates of all racial groupings. In contrast, in 2020, the rate for black infants passed the rate for American Indian infants.
“Typically, in order to spot any emerging trends, we would look at five years of data. These are therefore extremely early findings. Nonetheless, this is something that we’ll need to keep an eye on. The study’s co-author and epidemiologist, Sharyn Parks Brown, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Reproductive Health, was quoted as saying.
The study’s results show that racial differences still exist and may even be getting worse, especially since the pandemic affected different communities in different ways.
The chances of black families living in poverty are more than double as compared to white families, according to commentators of the study, NBC News reported.
” … Among families with children, homelessness is 50% more likely among those who identify as non-Hispanic black,” the authors exclaimed.
How will you ensure that your infant sleeps safely if you do not provide a safe sleeping environment? Dr. Rebecca Carlin, a paediatrician at New York’s Columbia University and co-author of a commentary that came out with the study asked.
On top of that, black communities are said to have more people who smoke and have babies early. These factors also affect the risk of sudden death among infants.
The socioeconomic disparities among different communities “not only result in limited access to health care and education but also in many families not having a stable, safe place for their infants to sleep,” the co-authors wrote.
One way to help lower the number of unexpected deaths among babies is to make sure they sleep safely.
Unsafe sleep practises, such as placing the baby on their stomach or in the parent’s bed instead of a crib and placing blankets or stuffed animals in the crib, can increase the risk of sudden infant deaths.
“There is at least one risk factor for unsafe sleep in almost all SUID fatalities, around 95% of them,” said Dr. Carlin.
According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, breastfeeding, limiting exposure to smoke, and avoiding using weighted blankets or swaddles close to a sleeping child are some other variables that may help prevent sudden baby deaths.