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After several infant deaths, police and nurses warn against co-sleeping

Publish Date 04/01/2021

After multiple infant deaths related to co-sleeping, Kansas City police and child health advocates are warning parents of babies to sleep safely.

On March 28, police responded to two infant death calls on the same day that appeared to be related to unsafe infant sleeping practices. In the first one, a mother appeared to have rolled over onto her newborn and accidentally suffocated her while they slept together. Later that morning, officers went to a hotel where another mother appeared to have inadvertently smothered her 3-week-old as they slept in the same bed.

In February, a 5-month-old died after being accidentally suffocated while sleeping on the couch with another child. So far in 2021, seven children two years or younger have died in Kansas City, Mo., in incidents that have either been confirmed to be the result of co-sleeping or are under investigation for being the result of co-sleeping. 

The CDC advises parents to have babies sleep in their room but not in their bed. Babies should be put down to sleep alone on a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib or bassinet. Babies should be put on their backs to sleep. Keep soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads and soft toys out of the baby’s sleep area. Safe sleep practices should be used both at nap time and at night time.

“Babies in 55% of sleep-related infant fatalities in Missouri were co-sleeping,” said Amy Terreros, a pediatric nurse practitioner at Children’s Mercy Hospital. “… Co-sleeping is a huge risk factor.”

Any Kansas City area parent who cannot afford a safe sleeping space for their infant can contact Safe Cribs for Missouri. Children’s Mercy is also working toward a partnership with KCPD. If officers on a call for service see a baby who doesn’t have a safe place to sleep, they will contact Children’s Mercy to provide resources for the infant.

For more information about safe sleeping practices for infants, watch the above video.