St. Tammany Parish Coroner working to reduce infant deaths
Seven infants died in St. Tammany Parish last year, and five of them were attributed to unsafe sleeping conditions, so the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office is taking steps to prevent these deaths.
Working with the national Cribs for Kids organization, the Coroner’s Office now offers free training for parents, grandparents, caregivers and first responders. Upon completion of the 90-minute class, parents are given a free Pack ‘n Play bassinet, paid for with private donations.
“Many parents have never been given instruction in safe sleeping conditions for their infants,” Dr. Charles Preston said. “Our first responders frequently encounter families with unsafe sleeping quarters, and can refer families to us for training and their free crib.”
Safe sleeping is as simple as ABC – Alone, on their Backs, and in a Crib.
“Sharing a bed with an infant may seem like a bonding time, but it’s actually very dangerous,” Preston said. “Cluttering cribs with toys and blankets can seem cute, but these objects pose very real hazards when children are sleeping.”
Preston said parents should not be fooled by the relatively small number of deaths.
“Five sleep-related deaths may not seem like a lot, until it’s your child or a child you care about,” Preston said. “Most such deaths are easily prevented with proper sleeping situations and cribs, and we’re here to help. Our agency doesn’t just respond to deaths; we try to prevent deaths, too.”
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