September is Baby Safety Month.
A good time to remind parents of infants of a warning issued earlier this year by the Lowndes County Child Fatality Review Committee of the Southern Judicial Circuit and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Fatality Review Unit.
Lowndes County and state officials urged parents not to place infants in bed with them.
“As parents, it is very tempting to want to place your infant in your bed so you can comfort them and feel ‘safe’ while they sleep,” according to a GBI statement issued this summer. “Georgia Child Fatality Review urges parents to resist this temptation. Regardless of warnings, last year more than 100 infants died in Georgia as a result of co-sleeping with their parents or being placed in other unsafe sleep environments.”
Thirteen Georgia infants died from “sleep-related” causes in March, according to the GBI.
In Lowndes County, 20 infants have died of sleep-related causes during the past five years, David Ferrell, chairman of the District Attorney’s Lowndes County Child Fatality Review Committee of the Southern Judicial Circuit and chief investigator in the Southern District Attorney’s office, said earlier this year. Two cases have been reported in Brooks County.
Of the 22 deaths in Lowndes and Brooks counties, 14 infants died while sleeping with parents, Ferrell said. The infants ranged in ages from 11 days to 1 year old. Most were 1 month to 6 months old, he said.
“There’s nothing intentional here,” Ferrell said. “No one is trying to hurt their children. A lot of times, parents say, well, my mother did it with me, and my grandmother did it and nothing happened to them. ... But parents putting a baby in bed with them can end in tragedy.”
A sleeping parent can roll over on a small infant suffocating the baby. The parent has no idea until waking up, according to past incident reports.
Earlier this year, the District Attorney’s Child Fatality Review Committee and Department of Public Health’s Baby Luv Parents as Teachers Program hosted a Safe Sleep Saves Lives Dinner for area pediatricians and medical representatives who deal with parents and infants.
Sponsors asked medical officials to urge their patients not to place babies in bed with them.
They asked doctors to share the ABC approach with parents of infants.
The ABCs of Safe Sleeping: “Alone on their Backs in a safe Crib.”
The GBI Child Fatality Review Unit breaks down the ABCs:
• Alone: “Babies should sleep alone in their own sleep space, close but separate from their caregiver.”
• Back: “Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep. Every sleep. Every nap. Every time.”
• Crib: “Babies should sleep in a crib or bassinet with a firm, flat surface with no extra items such as blankets or toys.”
The Lowndes County committee has also asked day-care facilities to remind parents of the ABCs of Safe Sleeping.
We urge our readers to follow these steps and to share them with parents of infant children.
September may be Baby Safety Month but it’s good advice for any month, every day.