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New Anti-SIDS Campaign Targeting Black Parents


Over the past decade, there has been some progress against SIDS, which claimed 5,000 lives in 1992. Even though the death rate has dropped 40%, black infants are still disproportionately affected. Many are poor and don't have access to health services that could provide help or at least information.

For example, the SIDS survey shows that 71% of blacks worry that putting a baby on its back will increase the risk of choking on vomit. Fewer than half of whites shared that concern.

"This disparity is outrageous and unacceptable, especially since we know that we can do something about it," said Assistant U.S. Surgeon General Marilyn Hughes Gaston, MD.

The pediatrician laid some of the blame for these deaths on doctors. "Not only do they [doctors] have to know the information that's current ... but all of us have to be reminded that we need to talk about this with parents," said Gaston.

One black parent who got good advice is 24-year-old Nicky Smikle. She relied on her doctor for information about how to protect her 6-month-old daughter Joyia from SIDS. "I wasn't terrified. I knew that what I was doing was right, putting her on her back. No toys in the crib, no quilts," Smikle tells WebMD.

More information and safety tips about preventing SIDS can be found at, the web site for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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