TUESDAY, Aug. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — There were significant increases in infant mortality from accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed (ASSB) from 1999 to 2016, according to a study recently published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.

Joanna Drowos, D.O., from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, and colleagues used data from the National Center for Health Statistics files to estimate race/ethnicity-specific ASSB occurrence.

The researchers found that ASSB mortality continued to increase significantly from 1999 to 2016: 4.4-fold for non-Hispanic black (NHB) girls (45.8 per 100,000 in 2016); 3.5-fold for NHB boys (53.8); 2.7-fold for non-Hispanic white (NHW) girls (15.8); and 4.0-fold for NHW boys (25.9). Factors previously associated with ASSB (single mothers and mothers with low education levels, low infant birth weight, low gestational age, lack of prenatal care, male infant, multiple birth, high birth order) remain associated with both overall ASSB and inequalities adversely affecting NHBs. Lower ASSB mortality for births attended by midwives versus physicians may suggest a role of both medical infrastructure and maternal engagement. Lastly, high rates of ASSB among infants born to teenage mothers suggest that poor maternal health may be a barrier to ASSB prevention based on education, culture, and tradition.

“These descriptive data may generate new hypotheses and targets for interventions for reducing both ASSB mortality and racial inequalities,” the authors write.

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