Illinois ‘Safe Sleep Support’ program opens to address SUID

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Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 1:45 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - The Pritzker administration announced Tuesday the Illinois Safe Sleep Support program. The program, led by 12 government and community agencies, aims to address sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).

According to the governor’s office, Illinois Safe Sleep Support will focus on outreach and education to expand community-based promotion of safe sleep practices, promote resources to improve safe sleep environments, identify SUID disparities and address opportunities for improvement.

The governor’s office reported SUID is one of the leading causes of infant mortality in Illinois and the nation. The state lost 737 babies to infant death before their first birthday in 2020. While infant mortality rates are highest in Cook County, this is a statewide health concern.

“All Illinois families should be aware of the risks and ways to prevent crib deaths and keep their loved ones safe. This gives babies the best chance to thrive during their first year and beyond,” said Gov. Pritzker.

According to the governor’s office, SUID is a leading cause of death in babies aged one month to one year. These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area and are frequently caused by accidental suffocation.

The governor’s office reported, although the quality of healthcare has improved in Illinois, racial disparities for infant mortality have remained a concern. Rates of SUID have remained steady since 2000 in the state, but rates are disproportionately higher for Black infants. In Cook County, SUID occurred 16 times more often in Black infants.

“Two to three Illinois babies die every week from SUID. In Cook County, SUID occurs 16 times more often among Black infants, and nearly 4 times more often among Hispanic infants, as compared to white infants,” said Dr. Kyran Quinlan, Principal Investigator for the CDC SUID Case Registry for Cook County.

The governor stated, the Illinois Safe Sleep Support program aligns with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines which include placing infants on their backs to sleep and keeping soft items like pillows, blankets, and bumpers out of their sleep space. Together, these actions help prevent suffocation or strangulation.

For more information on the Illinois Safe Sleep Support program, visit

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