What The Numbers Are Telling Us...

The Child Fatality Prevention website was created to raise public awareness about child fatalities and assist communities with identifying where additional resources or efforts are needed to assist struggling families. This section of the website will provide context to the data along with information and resources for how to use the data to understand trends and develop or support existing prevention efforts.

Safe Sleep Data

Children under the age of one represent nearly 100 percent of unsafe sleep fatalities in Florida making unsafe sleep a leading cause of preventable infant death in our state. Fatalities attributed to unsafe sleep can occur when a caregiver shares a bed with a baby, if a baby is put to sleep with unsafe bedding materials such as pillows, bumpers, blankets or stuffed animals, the baby is put to bed in an unsafe position which is any position other than their back or other unsafe sleeping environments such as a chair or sofa. The recent data on unsafe sleep fatalities is below.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep ALONE, on their BACKS and in a CRIB. Cribs should be clear of items like blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, strings/cords, sleep positioners and bumper pads. Babies should sleep in their own cribs, as the risk of infant death is 40 times higher for babies who sleep in adult beds.

In 2013, there were 112 unsafe sleep fatalities reported to the hotline.

Children under the age of 1 represent 97 percent of unsafe sleep fatalities.

  • 13 percent of the children involved were known to the department while 87 were not.
  • 43 percent of the families had prior department involvement within the past five years.
  • 82 unsafe sleep fatalities occurred while the child was co-sleeping with another person.
  • 93 percent involved the child’s parents or other adult caregiver.
  • 7 percent involved other children (no adult was involved).
  • 30 fatalities were due to unsafe bedding, sleep position and other unsafe environments.

*There are still 7 pending cases from 2013 of which 3 occurred during a sleeping episode. These fatalities cannot be attributed to unsafe sleep until the autopsy is completed in order to rule out natural causes or SIDS.

In 2014, have been 50 fatalities found to be due to Unsafe Sleep. As of Jan. 5, 2015, there were 114 fatalities still under investigation.  Although 75 of these cases occurred during a sleeping episode, these fatalities cannot be attributed to Unsafe Sleep until the autopsy is completed in order to rule out natural causes or SIDS.

Of the 50 fatalities that have been attributed to Unsafe Sleep:

Children under the age of 1 represent 100% of unsafe sleep fatalities.

  • 18 percent of the children involved were known to the department while 82 were not.
  • 34 percent of the families had prior department involvement within the past five years.
  • 32 unsafe sleep deaths occurred while the child was co-sleeping with another person.
  • 87 percent involved the child’s parents or other adult caregiver.
  • 13 percent involved other children (no adult was involved).
  • 18 fatalities were due to soft bedding or sleep position.

In the coming months, DCF will be working with the Department of Health’s (DOH) vital statistics to reconcile data on unsafe sleep fatalities and provide comprehensive data by combining reporting from both agencies.

These statistics show the need for continued promotion of safe sleep practices in our communities. As most of these families are not known to DCF, prenatal care providers, pediatricians, hospital staff and trusted faith and community organizations are key in helping get the word out about the importance of safe sleep practices. For more information and resources on promoting safe sleeping practices, visit www.MyFLFamilies.com/SafeSleep.