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Don’t sleep with babies: Three infants die in rollovers

In the weeks before Christmas, three Lamar County families lost their infants simply doing what many parents do ‘“ taking their baby into their bed for the night. All three of the children suffocated when a parent rolled over onto them while sleeping. Local officials are unsure how long it has been since such a death has occurred here, much less multiple ones in a single month. ”As an agency, we want to encourage mothers not to sleep with their babies,” said Department of Family and Children Services director U’Landa Barkley. She said families in need of cribs can call DFACS, which can do referrals to services that can provide them. The Health Department Children First program offers free family assessments and developmental screenings to every child. The program also links families with resources and stresses immunization, health information and service referrals. ’We talk to parents about safe sleeping areas,’ said county nurse manager Sherry Farr. ‘In December we lost three babies who were sleeping with their parents. It’s detrimental to the whole community.’ Farr stressed the parents involved did nothing wrong in sleeping next to their children, who ranged in age from 6 weeks to three months. ’They were young and tired and lost their children,’ she said. ‘We haven’t lost babies like that in a long time.’ The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found some 64 infants and children under age 2 die each year in the U.S. while sleeping in the same bed as their parents. The original 1998 study examined the number and kinds of deaths that result from bed sharing via death certificates from all 50 states and reports of deaths from consumer products from January 1990 through December 1997. During that time, 515 children under age 2 died while bed sharing. Of those, 121 died from suffocation after an adult rolled onto them. The other 394 died of suffocation, asphyxia or strangulation after becoming trapped in mattresses, bed frames and side railings. Children sleeping on water beds accounted for 79 deaths. The CPSC urges parents and caregivers to place children in cribs rather than adult beds. Cribs should meet commission standards for appropriately spaced side rails and have a mattress that is flat, firm and free of soft bedding and pillows. Cribs should have locking sides that fit securely into the frame. ”It’s extremely important people understand putting a baby in bed puts them at risk for strangulation and suffocation,” said former CPSC chairman Ann Brown. “Don’t sleep with your baby or put the baby down to sleep in an adult bed.” In addition to suffocation deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics has linked bed sharing with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in children up to 2 months old. It notes some mothers bed share due to cultural traditions or to facilitate breast feeding, but the risk increases if a parent is tired or has consumed medicines or alcohol. Sleeping with infants on couches or children sharing beds with babies are also considered dangerous.

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