According to a recent new study, Sudden Unexplained Infant Death rates for Black babies has been on the rise. Per the study, in 2020, numbers have hit their highest mark since 2017.

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SUID, Sudden Unexpected Infant Death, is a term that includes a myriad of infant causes of death. The terms encompasses: sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, and ill-defined cause of death. 


According to the research study that was undertaken by the Centers for Disease Control, published on March 13th in the medical journal Pediatrics, the SUID rate among infants born to non-Hispanic Black families was more than twice as high as the general population, and nearly three times higher than infants born to non-Hispanic White families.

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“We would typically — ideally — look at five years of data in order to see any sort of trend emerging. So, these are very preliminary findings,” Sharyn Parks Brown, an epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Reproductive Health, who co-authored the study, told CNN in a recent interview. “But this is something that we’re going to have to continue monitoring.”

Additional physicians commented on the research, stating that the high rates of SUID deaths “reflect our societal failures.” They further state that socioeconomic disparities “not only result in limited access to health care and education, but also in many families not having a stable, safe place for their infants to sleep.” 

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The study sample focused on the year between 2019-2020, noting that the rate for White babies dropped to its lowest since 2017. Death rates that were already two times higher for Black babies in 2017 were found to be triple that in 2020.

COVID, of course was one possible explanation for these increased deaths. Safe sleep spaces and underlying health conditions were additional explanations for this increase as well.

More study is unquestionably needed to help lessen the gap of these disproportionate infant deaths. 

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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