Infant Co-Sleeping Deaths On The Rise In African-American Community

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In this STLmoms report, city police say the number of infant co-sleeping deaths in the African-American community are going up and it's an issue that should not be ignored.

Tonya Tanksley is a child abuse detective with the St. Louis Police Department and as time goes by she's seeing more of the same thing, co-sleeping deaths in the African-American community.

The number of co-sleeping related deaths in the African American community in St. Louis has doubled over the last two years. According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, in 2010 there were a total of three co-sleeping and sleep-related deaths and that number jumped to six in 2011. There have been a total of 28 in the last five years for babies between 2 and 22 months old. Police say co-sleeping is not illegal, but it can be dangerous.

Dr. Shalini Paruthi with St. Louis Cardinal Glennons Children's Hospital says parents want to be close to their babies when they get home, but they should have their own sleep space.

Detective Tanksley says she will continue to get the word out about an issue that can dramatically change your life.