"Infant mortality" refers to the death of a baby before it reaches its first birthday. In 2020 in Tennessee, 495 babies died before reaching their first birthday. That's the equivalent of nearly 25 kindergarten classrooms!
The "infant mortality rate" is the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The infant mortality rate in Tennessee (shown in blue) is still higher than the national infant mortality rate (shown in red).
Number and Rate of Infant Deaths, Tennessee, 2016-2020
Even though the overall infant mortality rate and number of infant deaths has been declining over the past few years, sleep-related deaths consistent account for 1 in 4 infant fatalities. In 2020 there 115 infant sleep-related deaths. That means that 25% of all infant deaths were due to sleep-related causes!
Number of Sleep-Related Deaths, Tennessee, 2016-2020
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: Unsafe bedding or toys in the sleeping area (86% of deaths), Infant not sleeping in a crib or bassinette (69% of deaths), infant sleeping with other people (58% of deaths), and infant not sleeping on back (56%). 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.
Contributing Factors in Sleep-Related Deaths, Tennessee, 2020