Even though rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the U.S. have declined substantially in recent years, SIDS deaths are still disproportionately high among certain racial and ethnic minority populations. African American babies are more than twice as likely to die from SIDS as Caucasian babies, while American Indian and Alaska Native infants have the highest SIDS rates in the nation—2.6 times higher than in the general population.

Nurses can help reduce this tragic disparity by educating minority parents, families and communities about proven “safe sleep” techniques for decreasing SIDS risk. These include, among others, placing infants to sleep on their backs, avoiding the use of soft bedding materials, preventing babies from becoming overheated, using a pacifier and not smoking around infants. And now, a new research study from Kaiser Permanente has added another important item to that checklist: placing an electric fan in baby’s bedroom to improve air ventilation.

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