June 3, 2008
Statewide Launch of “Babies Sleep Safest Alone” Campaign
OSWEGO COUNTY - New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Gladys Carrión, Oswego County Social Services Commissioner Frances Lanigan, Oswego County Public Health Director Dr. Dennis Norfleet and Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Olivia VanSanford, along with more than three dozen local social services commissioners across the state, have launched a joint campaign to stop a preventable crisis: infants dying when sharing a bed with an adult.
“Since 2006, there have been 89 infant or small child deaths reported to the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment,” said Gladys Carrión, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. “Each of these deaths occurred when the child was co-sleeping with a parent, sibling, or caregiver.”
Co-sleeping is dangerous, especially if you drink alcohol, use drugs, are overweight, or sleep on a couch. If an adult or child rolls over on a baby, the infant can be hurt or even suffocated. To keep your baby close, put his crib or bassinet near your bed.
To prevent further fatalities, New York State and several local counties have joined together to launch a statewide public education campaign: “BABIES SLEEP SAFEST ALONE”.
Oswego County Social Services Commissioner Frances Lanigan said, “These deaths cross cultural, racial, ethnic, and economic demographics. By leveraging our joint resources, we will educate caregivers to save children's lives.”
Three-quarters of the children in co-sleeping incidents are newborn to three months old. Adult co-sleepers involved in these incidents are most likely to be the child's mother; aged 18 to 24 years old.
At a press conference at Manhattan's Metropolitan Hospital Maternity Ward, on May 8, Commissioner Carrión said, “Just over a dozen small children have died so far this year in beds they were sharing with their caregivers. These may have been preventable deaths.”
The Office of Children and Families estimates that co-sleeping is involved in approximately 20 percent of the child fatalities reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. Nearly 40 percent of these co-sleeping incidents occurred during a weekend.
For more information about the campaign or safe sleeping practices for you and your baby, call 1-800-345-KIDS (5437) or visit www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/babiessleepsafestalone/default.htm.
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