05/28/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

In Cook County, Sleep-Related Deaths Disproportionately Affecting Black Infants

African-American infants in Cook County are 12 times more likely to die of sleep-related causes than white infants, according to researchers at Children's Memorial Research Center.

Sleep-related deaths include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), unintentional suffocation in bed and those in which the cause was undetermined but investigations found that the infant died during sleep.

When researchers took a closer look at the undetermined deaths, they found an even more striking racial disparity: African-American infants were almost 17 times more likely to die of unknown sleep-related causes. In most cases, the infants had been sleeping in unsafe situations that put them at risk, such as being placed in a bed with a parent.

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