Health officials and the Escambia County Florida Sheriff’s Office said sleep-related infant deaths have spiked this year.
So far, three babies have died in Florida as a result of sleep-related incidents.
One child got entwined in a blanket and died while co-sleeping in their parents’ bed. Another infant was smothered by a stuffed animal in a crib. In a third case, a child died after a mother fell asleep while breastfeeding. She woke up and found her baby dead, reports WKRG.
The deaths have prompted the county’s sheriff’s office to release a public service announcement to prevent future sleep-related tragedies. In 2018, six infants died in accidental fatalities. Co-sleeping increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Watch the Facebook message below:
Public Service Announcement – Infant Deaths in Escambia County *share & tag a friendChief Deputy Chip Simmons and Amber Southard interview Captain Dawn Janes to discuss a January increase in infant deaths in Escambia County. Watch this segment if you are a parent, family member, or a caregiver of an infant to be aware of the current issues. WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola WKRG NBC 15, WPMI – TV Mobile Cat Country 98.7 FOX10 News NewsRadio 92.3 1330 WEBY 1370 WCOA Talk 103.7 790AM CBS News WUWF Milton Post WSRE Northwest Florida Daily News My Magic 106 Jet 100.7 104.1 WDLT NASH 102.7 WXBM
Posted by Escambia County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Captain Dawn Janes, who spoke in the video said:
“It is just really sad when something like this happens.”
She described one heartbreaking incident:
“One parent fell asleep with a child in her arms, woke up with the child in the crook of the couch, between her and the couch cushions, and just something as simple as that.
You know, you’re tired and the baby is sleeping and it’s not developed enough to let you know ‘Hey, I’m in a bad spot. I can’t move. I can’t breathe.'”
Escambia Chief Deputy Chip Simmons said the sleeping-related accidents surprised him. He would have never thought breastfeeding or oversized stuffed animals would be the cause of a child’s death.
The Florida Department of Health Director Dr. John Lanza discussed three incidents linked to co-sleeping with WKRG and warned parents that “it’s never good to co-sleep.” Lanza explained:
“We’ve seen cases of parents trying to feed the child on a sofa and they get wedged between the end of the sofa and the parent and they have a suffocation, especially if the parent is sleepy and tired and falls asleep. We’ve also had issues where the parent was drinking alcohol, on opioids, other medications, they passed out, the child was suffocated.”
Lanza said there have been more deaths due to co-sleeping in the colder months and advised parents to find other creative ways to keep a child warm without bringing their infant into bed. Lanza added.
“Parents have to be creative sometimes in finding ways not to co-sleep. We suggest cribs, bassinets or baby boxes. Baby boxes arent’ accepted in our culture, but it is extremely safe.”
Too many blankets could also affect a child’s well-being.
Watch the video below: