Skip to main content

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 2019, there were 69 sleep-related fatalities reported to the hotline.

  • 10 percent of the children involved were known to the department while 90 percent were not.
  • 30 percent of the families had prior department involvement within the past five years.
  • 44 of the sleep-related fatalities occurred while the child was bed-sharing with another person(s).
  • 40 bed-sharing incidents (91 percent) involved the child’s parents or other adult caregiver.
  • Four bed-sharing incidents (9 percent) involved other children (no adult was involved).
  • Approximately 22 fatalities were due to unsafe bedding, Sleep position, and/or other unsafe environments.

In addition, there were 50 SIDS/SUID fatalities and 40 Undetermined fatalities reported to the hotline in 2019.

  • 24 of the SIDS/SUID fatalities (nearly 50 percent) occurred while the child was bed-sharing with another person(s).
  • Eight of the Undetermined fatalities (20 percent) occurred while the child was bed-sharing with another person(s).

As of October 2020, there have been 25 sleep-related fatalities reported to the hotline, with over 106 fatalities involving children aged 1 and younger still pending determination of the cause of death.  Although 57 of these cases occurred during a sleeping episode, these fatalities cannot be attributed to a sleep-related causal factor until the autopsy is completed in order to rule out natural causes, SIDS/SUID, or if undetermined.

Of the 25 fatalities that have been attributed to sleep-related circumstances:
Children under the age of 1 represent 100% of unsafe sleep fatalities.

  • Two percent of the children involved were known to the department while 98 percent were not.
  • 56 percent of the families had prior department involvement within the past five years.
  • 11 sleep-related deaths occurred while the child was bed-sharing with another person(s).
  • Approximately eight fatalities were due to unsafe bedding, sleep position and/or other unsafe environments.

In addition, there were 26 SIDS/SUID fatalities and 11 Undetermined fatalities reported to the hotline in 2020.

  • Nine of the SIDS/SUID fatalities (35 percent) occurred while the child was bed-sharing with another person(s).
  • Three of the Undetermined fatalities (3 percent) occurred while the child was bed-sharing with another person(s).

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.