Unsafe sleeping conditions claiming lives of more African American babies

According to a recently released report, unsafe sleeping practices, like sharing a bed with an adult, are to blame for more of the reported infant deaths in the state, particularly among minorities.

The Child Death, Near Death and Stillbirth Commission (CDNDSC) released its fiscal year 2010 report Monday. Statistics show unsafe infant sleeping practice deaths have dramatically increased to 18, 15 involving African American babies — that’s 83 percent. Among the 18 deaths, the report states only one infant was sleeping in a crib. Experts believe cultural practices and economic reasons could explain for the disparity.

Among the 18 cases reviewed, six of the infants were not sleeping on their back. Four of the cases had unsafe bedding for the infant’s sleep, two cases involved a mother who fell asleep while breastfeeding the infant.

“What I like to tell parents about the safest sleep enviroment is the ABC‘s. The baby should be sleeping Alone. B is for on sleeping on his or her back, and the Baby should be sleeping in a Crib,” said Dr. Kate Cronan, an ER doctor at A.I. duPont Hospital.

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Preventable deaths, according to CDNDSC. Consequently, the state agency has made several recommendations to help prevent unsafe infant sleeping deaths, including harsher penalties for parents who blatantly disregard education on safe sleeping practices, through programs like Cribs for Kids, which provides low-income parents with free cribs and safe sleeping tips to keep their babies safe.

Several organizations have been handing out free cribs as shown on a February broadcast of First.  The idea is the free cribs give health and community officials a chance to remind parents about child sleeping habits.

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