FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — It’s not always covered in the news but accidental infant deaths happen more often than many may realize.
“Typically what we see throughout the state is that we have 20 to 50 babies that will die every year that will die of accidental suffocation every year,” Lutheran Health Network Neonatologist Dr. James Cameron said. “It’s the scariest thing in the world and I don’t want any parent to have to go through that. ”
Infant mortality is defined as the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. Unsafe sleep practices can lead to suffocation, one of the leading causes of infant mortality in Indiana.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, in Indiana 6.8 babies die per 1,000 people. The state’s infant mortality rate has gone down in the past few years however, the number is still higher than in most states.
Tips on safe sleeping:
- Babies should sleep alone in a safety-approved environment with a tightly fitted sheet up to one year of age.
- An infant should always be placed in a crib, not a car seat or a bed.
- Babies sleep safest on their backs. They should not sleep on their side or stomach.
- Even if a baby is sleeping alone in a crib, items like blankets and stuffed animals can pose a threat.
- Nothing and no one should be in the baby’s sleep area/crib.
“There is no safe way to sleep with your baby,” Dr. James Cameron said. “We never want a baby to be sleeping with a parent or anybody else. For babies when they’re being put to bed, it’s not just putting them in a safe place, but to make sure the safe space they are in is also safe.”
Before every parent leaves Lutheran Hospital, staff members teach them safe sleeping habits. Dr. Cameron says education is the best way to prevent infant death.
To learn more about the infant mortality rate in Northeast Indiana click here.