Mississippi sees drop in number of SIDS deaths

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Mississippi state health officials say the number of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome deaths in the state has declined by more than half from 2011 to 2012.

In 2012, the state reported 21 SIDS deaths, a rate of 0.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 43 deaths in 2011, a rate of 1.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

State health officials said SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under age one that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation has been conducted, including a complete autopsy, an examination of the death scene, and a review of clinical history.

SIDS is the third leading cause of infant deaths in Mississippi.

Health officials said there’s been a downward trend in the state’s infant mortality rate from 2005 to 2012. The state’s infant mortality rate in 2012 was 8.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 11.4 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005.

“While this is definitely reason to celebrate, we need to remember that Mississippi continues to be above the national average in SIDS deaths and infant mortality,” said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier.

“In order to continue this decline in the deaths of our infants we must ensure that women are healthy before they are pregnant, have access to good prenatal care when they become pregnant, are educated on the risk of smoking around infants, and understand the importance of safe sleep practices.”