Winter sees increase in preventable child deaths

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City has seen infant deaths rise 68 percent in the last year due to unsafe sleeping conditions. Sadly, every one of the deaths was preventable.

“Every child death is tragic, but even more tragic are the ones that are preventable," said Lt. Alana Hauck, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Hauck said the numbers always increase as we hit the winter months because parents aren't doing the right things when they put their babies to bed.

“Such as parents sleeping with children, improper bedding, tucked in too tightly in bed, laying on pillows,” she said.

Dr. Jamie Kondis, a child abuse pediatrician with Washington University and Children's Hospital, said parents just need to be aware of what they are doing.

“People think infants are going to be cold, so they'll pile extra blankets on them or put them in bed with them,” she said. “Both are high risk factors for deaths from suffocation.”

Lori Behrens, Infant Loss Resources, said people get overwhelmed and sleep deprived. They might have been taught how to put babies to sleep, but are just trying to get them to sleep as quick as possible.

“We just want people to remember the ABCs: Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib. A baby can sleep in a Pack ‘n Play, which is a suitable alternative to a crib,” she said.

These experts also recommend only putting a light blanket in a crib with a baby or just putting them down in a onesie or sleeper outfit.