Every year, there are about 2.6 million babies who die during the first month of their lives. One million of these newborns take their first and last breaths on the day they were born.

A report from UNICEF found out that the country with the highest newborn mortality rate is Pakistan, with one in every 22 infants die before running 1 month old. Meanwhile, two of the three safest countries for newborns are in Asia: Japan, Iceland, and Singapore, with only 1 in 1,000 babies dying during their first 28 days. The country with the lowest newborn mortality rate is Japan, with 1 death in every 1,111 births.

Those who are born to the poorest families are 1.4 times more likely to die during the newborn period compared with those born to rich families.

Newborn babies are more at risk to diseases and death due to suffocation.
Newborn babies are more at risk to diseases and death.

How to Reduce The Risk of Death in Newborns

Even if there is no 100% way to prevent newborn death, there are a lot of things that parents can do to lower the baby’s risk.

Let Your Baby Sleep on His Back

Your baby is at risk any time he or she sleeps on his side or stomach. These sleeping positions put his face on the mattress or the sleeping area that can smother him. Even if you are just putting your little on for naps, lay him down on his back. Never let him sleep in the car seat, stroller or baby seat for a prolonged period of time.

Breastfeed As Long As You Can

Breastfeeding your baby can lower the risk of newborn deaths by as much as 50%. Breast milk protects babies from infections too.

Do not let your baby sleep face down.
Do not let your baby sleep face down.

Have a Firm Bed with No Soft Toys

To prevent suffocation or smothering, lay your baby down to sleep on a flat surface or a firm mattress in a crib or bassinet. All your baby’s crib needs are the fitted sheet. Remove other things like quilts, blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys.

Keep Your Baby From Overheating

Overheating may raise the risk of deaths in newborns so make sure to dress your infant in light and comfortable clothes for sleeping. The room temperature should be at a level that is comfortable for an adult. You can dress your baby in a onesie or pajamas that cover his legs, arms, hands, and feet or you can also use a sleep sack or wearable blanket.

Dress your baby comfortably and maintain room temperature.
Dress your baby comfortably and maintain room temperature.

Use a Pacifier to Put Your Infant to Sleep

Using a pacifier to put your baby to sleep can help prevent infant death. Put the pacifier in your baby’s mouth when you put him to sleep but remove it after he falls asleep.

If you are still breastfeeding, you can wait until your baby is breastfeeding regularly before you start using a pacifier. Introducing a pacifier when your infant is still less than a month old can lead to nipple confusion and can lead your baby preferring the pacifier over the mother’s nipple.