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Newborn babies sleep in a hospital nursery. Photo: Tommaso Di Girolamo / AGF / UIG via Getty Images

After years of sharp declines in sleep-related infant deaths in the U.S., progress has slowed considerably, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns in a new report.

Key stat: Roughly 3,500 infants die from sleep-related issues in America annually. The causes range from SIDS and accidental suffocation in cribs to deaths from unknown causes. Despite intensive public education efforts, only half of mothers say they receive “safe sleep” advice from healthcare providers during pre- and post-natal visits, CDC said.

A high-profile, national public education campaign to raise awareness about the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome contributed to dramatic decreases in sleep-related infant deaths during the 1990s. But in recent years the rate of these deaths has held fairly constant.

  • Despite intensive “safe sleep” public education efforts, CDC found that roughly 1 in 5 mothers were still placing their infants to sleep on their side or stomach.
  • More than half of mothers reported that they at least occasionally allowed infants to sleep in the same bed with them.
  • More than a third said they put loose or soft materials in their infants’ cribs. Unsafe sleep practices tended to be more prevalent among mothers who were younger than 25, black or poorly educated.

Be smart:  Here are some of the key “safe sleep” practices recommended for infants by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Place infants on their backs during sleep times (including naps).
  • Make sure infants are sleeping on a firm surface.
  • Don’t let infants sleep with soft objects or loose bedding.
  • Parents shouldn’t sleep in the same bed with their babies.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

5 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.

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