One of the most tragic events in life is the death of an infant. Something made more tragic by the fact that many times an infant’s death is preventable.
Recent studies show that Kentucky is at the top of the nation when it comes to unsafe infant sleeping deaths. Those deaths include the unexplained Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and those with definite causes such as Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID).
In 2010 (the latest year with complete data), Kentucky had 92 infant deaths which fall under the heading of unexpected or unexplained sleeping deaths, with most of these deaths attributed to unsafe sleeping habits.
Kosair Children’s Hospital Child Advocate Erika Janes recommends,” to avoid strangulation and suffocation, babies should be placed in cribs by themselves – no toys, pads or blankets – and placed on their backs” with a tight fitting sheet.
Although it is tempting as a parent or grandparent to snuggle closely with a sleeping infant while sitting in a chair, on a couch, or in bed, Janes says a major factor in infant’s sleep-related deaths are small children being in bed with an adult or another child. The presented risk in practicing this type of activity is that the child can become ensnared in adult bedding resulting in suffocation, or the adult or older child can roll over onto the infant during sleep, also causing suffocation.
This child safety issue is oftentimes exasperated when cold weather hits, because parents sometimes attempt to compensate for the cool temperatures by wrapping their infant in blankets, thinking this will keep them warmer. The actual result, though, is an increased risk of the infant smothering in the blankets.