Texas launches campaign to lower infant sleeping deaths

Texas launches campaign to lower infant sleeping deaths
Source: CBS
Source: CBS
Source: CBS
Source: CBS

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - In the past five months, 54 children in Texas have died while co-sleeping with an adult or an older child.

Last year, 159 children died due to co-sleeping.

Four of those deaths happened in the Panhandle and one was reported in Potter County.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services wants to put an end to these deaths.

The agency is working to educate parents about the dangers of co-sleeping through its "Room to Breathe" campaign.

"It is really sad because these are preventable tragedies and none of those 159 kids had to die," said DFPS Spokesperson Paul Zimmerman.

Zimmerman said many parents, especially first time ones, do not realize the dangers of sleeping with their child.

"A lot of parents who sleep with their young infant child look at it as a why to bond with their child, and we don't want to tell parents how to parent or bond with their children," Zimmerman said. "But at the same time, you have to emphasize to them their is a risk involved with that."

Room to Breath will educate parents on why babies should sleep alone, why they should sleep on their backs with no blankets or loose bedding, and to provide a cool room as well as smoke free environment for their child.

"What happens a lot of times is you'll have a parent who fall asleep with a child and somewhere in the middle of the night they roll over to switch positions and wined up on top of the child and end up suffocating them," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said it always surprises him the number of parents who do not realize the dangers of co-sleeping.

They also don't realize they are not the only dangers.

Infants sleeping with older children, pets, and stuff animals are also high risks.

"It's cute to have a baby sleeping with a giraffe but that stuff animal can also be deadly and it doesn't have to be if parents are educated and know the difference," Zimmerman expressed.

Parents are not the only ones the agency hopes to educate, Room to Breathe will also target babysitters and daycares.

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