The number of South Carolina infant deaths increased last year, according to state health officials.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control says South Carolina’s infant mortality rate saw a slight increase from 7.4 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011 to 7.6 deaths last year.
“The infant mortality rate in South Carolina saw a slight increase… 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.”
DHEC says its data shows the number of infant deaths caused by accidents increased by nearly 37%, from 30 deaths in 2011 to 41 last year. 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 fell from 29 to 22.
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 an infant, as second-hand smoke can contribute to sudden, unexplained infant death.
You can review DHEC’s infant mortality data for yourself here.