ILLINOIS (WEHT) – Officials say the expansive Illinois Safe Sleep Support program aims to address Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), one of the leading causes of infant mortality.

Officials say 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. Reports say SUID is one of the leading causes of infant mortality in Illinois and the nation. In 2020, Illinois lost 737 babies to infant death before their first birthday.

“Informing parents about protective practices for babies drives down rates of mortality, plain and simple. The State is taking a multi-targeted approach, involving parents, community organizations, and medical and childcare professionals in this effort,” said Grace B. Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services.

A press release says 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.

Officials say in expanding access to resources and tools that secure maternal and child health, Illinois is tackling infant mortality across all communities. For more information on Illinois Safe Sleep Support program, visit this website.