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Report Finds Sleep Related Deaths Impact High Infant Mortality Rates in Tulsa County

(Tulsa, OK)  According to a recently released Sleep Report produced by the Tulsa Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Program (TFIMR), sleep related deaths account for 19% of all Tulsa County infant deaths. The Sleep Report, which details the TFIMR Program’s infant sleep related death findings, notes a 13.2% increase in sleep related infant deaths over a five year period, from 2005-2009. On average, there are 14 infant sleep related deaths in Tulsa County each year, a number the TFIMR Program seeks to reduce.


The Sleep Report was created to increase awareness of the role sleep related deaths play in overall infant mortality in Tulsa County. The Report highlights certain modifiable risk factors that impact infant mortality including: bedsharing (also known as co-sleeping), sleep surface, sleep position, loose bedding or other objects in the sleep area, exposure to tobacco smoke, overheating, and maternal alcohol and illegal drug use. According to the Report, 88.6% of sleep related deaths were considered to be in a non-safe sleep environment. The Report’s authors believe that sleep related deaths may be prevented through increased awareness and education throughout the community.


“TFIMR is working hard to establish community partnerships to champion and implement changes to prevent sleep related deaths, as well as to develop resources to ensure providers understand and deliver safe sleep messages to new parents.” stated Alicia Plati, Division Manager of Health Data & Evaluation for the Tulsa Health Department


The TFIMR Program studies fetal and infant deaths in the community to identify trends and implement systems changes to reduce Tulsa County’s infant mortality rate. The TFIMR Case Review Team (CRT) reviews physician and hospital records and parent interviews. This information is shared with a Community Action Team (CAT) which identifies, develops, and facilitates policy and system changes, such as Help Us Wake Up Tulsa!, an initiative to increase awareness of safe sleep practices.


TFIMR is a collaborative effort of the Tulsa Health Department, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Tulsa Healthy Start Initiative, and the Family Health Coalition.


The Sleep Report was prepared through parent interviews, observations, data abstraction, and the CRT and CAT process. Members of CRT and CAT represent practitioners and community members dedicated to reducing infant mortality for Tulsa County through systems changes.


To view the entire report, please visit For more information, please contact Alicia Plati at (918) 595-4069.

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