"Infant mortality" refers to the death of a baby before it reaches its first birthday. In 2013 in Tennessee, 543 babies died before reaching their first birthday. That's the equivalent of 28 kindergarten classrooms full of children!
The "infant mortality rate" is the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. As shown in the graph below, the infant mortality rate in Tennessee has been declining steadily over the past few years. The infant mortality rate in Tennessee (shown in green) is still higher than the national infant mortality rate (shown in blue).
Even though the overall infant mortality rate and number of infant deaths has been declining over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of sleep-related deaths. In 2013, out of 543 infant deaths, 117 were due to sleep-related causes. That means that 22% of all infant deaths were due to sleep-related causes!
Some people may think that these sleep-related deaths only occur when parents are obese, or when parents are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Data from Tennessee's Child Fatality Review process shows otherwise. The main contributors to sleep-related deaths in Tennessee are: Baby not sleeping in a crib or bassinette (77% of deaths), infant sleeping with other people (55% of deaths), and infant not sleeping on back (51%). These data show why it is important to follow the ABC's of safe sleep—babies should sleep Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib.