The St. Joseph County Child Fatality Review Team held its annual public meeting Wednesday in South Bend. The year’s number of deaths reinforce the Review Team’s thoughts on the dangers of co-sleeping with infants.
The Review Team of Saint Joe County saw a total of 27 deaths for infants under a year old in 2017, ten of which were caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
According to the Indiana State Health Department, St. Joseph County had an infant mortality rate of 8.2 for every one thousand live births in 2016. The state average that year was 7.1 per one thousand births
Officials found the common risk factor in many of the SIDS cases were infants sharing a bed with one or more adults. Tobacco use in the home was an issue in some cases as well.
The Review Team wants to remind parents and caregivers to follow established recommendations that emphasize “stay close, sleep apart.” But if they feel compelled to co-sleep, they should discuss the option with a healthcare professional and take precautions.
The county has been working on different methods to get the message across, including billboards reminding parents to provide a separate space for infants.