YORK, Pa. — WellSpan officials and the York County Coroner addressed the dramatic increase in sudden unexplained infant deaths (SUIDs) at a press conference at WellSpan York Hospital on Tuesday.
Officials say they've seen as many deaths in the past six months as they typically see in an entire year.
Four to five babies had died throughout the entirety of 2021. As of 2022, six babies have died so far in York County, and two more have died in Adams County.
The most common theme that officials are seeing in the infant deaths are babies sleeping in an unsafe environment. They stress that babies should only ever be sleeping on their back, with an appropriate mattress, with nothing else in the crib or bassinet.
Doctors hope educating people on best practices will greatly reduce risk.
"I think that this is every parent's biggest fear," said Dr. Michael Goodstein, Director of Newborn Services for WellSpan Health System. "I know it was for myself when years ago, I had a son. And my hope is that through education and awareness, that we can get to the point where we never see this happen again because one death is too many."
Doctors also said today that feeding infants breast milk greatly reduces the chances of SUIDs.
Experts at the conference also demonstrated safe sleep practices and offered tips for parents based on the recently released updated guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics.