Because state data consist of numbers deemed statistically “small,” it is summarized in three year groupings. Based on the most recently available data for national comparisons (2013-2015), New Jersey's SUID rate of 0.6 deaths per 1,000 live births falls well below the national rate of 0.9. New Jersey's rate is equaled by five other states for the third lowest SUID rate in that three year period (NJ SHAD Indicator Report). New Jersey's rate is even lower than the Healthy People Objective of 0.84. In the previous three year period (2012-2014), New Jersey's rate was the lowest, equaled only by one other state. Yearly rates can be variable, so trends over time are followed. Rates are sensitive to changes in social determinants of health including the incidence of prematurity, smoking, poverty and narcotic addition.
SUID is comprised of SIDS, Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation and Ill-defined and Unknown Causes. All three sleep-related infant deaths are now looked at in combination under the term SUID in public health analyses because there is a variance in how each component diagnosis is applied, leading to diagnosis drift among these component terms. The SUID classification assures that no matter the final diagnosis in this cluster, the death is included for analysis. Of note, all three also share risk factors.
Looking specifically at SIDS and specifically in the most recent year available for national comparisons, New Jersey's SIDS rate in 2013-2015 of 0.32 per 1000 live births falls below the national rate of 0.4. The SIDS rate in New Jersey is lower than the Healthy People Objective of 0.5. With respect to SIDS, using provisional data for 2016 from the CDC WONDER database, the SIDS rate in New Jersey declined from 0.43 in 2015 to 0.29 in 2016. This year to year decline in New Jersey is accompanied by a decline in the year to year SUID rate for these two years, as noted above, from 0.68 to 0.61.
The SCNJ provides extensive safe sleep education through our outreach to birthing hospitals via the Nurses LEAD the Way initiative and through continuing education of health care, social service, child care, first responder and community outreach providers, for example. The education is consistent with the evidence-based safe infant sleep guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The SIDS Center works with the maternal and child health consortia, hospitals, child protection services, the New Jersey Hospital Association, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the March of Dimes, first responders, faith-based communities foster-care licensing and many other systems and organizations with shared goals to achieve penetration of the safe sleep information and awareness of all risk factors associated with these deaths.