Do not sleep with your baby
Infant deaths are preventable

Wanda English Burnett

A A baby dies each week and it can be prevented. “Please share this information with your readers,” Barbara Bowling, supervisor at the local department of child services in Versailles, told the Osgood Journal.

Bowling said that according to statistics from the Indiana Department of Child Services, a death a week occurs because someone is sleeping with a baby. It’s that simple. The tragedy can be prevented. Usually it’s a parent or sibling who share a bed, sofa or chair with an infant causing them to be accidentally suffocated. Some have died because a parent rolled on top of them and some infants were trapped by the bed frame, headboard, footboard, or between the bed and wall, furniture or some other object.

One tragic death occurred when a family joined others for a reunion. A young mother allowed her two-month-old son to sleep in an adult bed with three siblings. The baby was unresponsive the next morning with the cause of death being asphyxia. A teenager sleeping in the same bed had accidentally rolled on top of the infant.

Bed sharing has become common for Indiana families and the result is devastating, according to James Payne, director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

The most vulnerable are children ages six months and younger.

While some parents feel sleeping with their infant is a bonding experience, or that the baby will be warmer or more comfortable, Payne advises against it. The American Academy of Pediatrics along with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have warned against infants sleeping with their parents. “I want to echo this warning,” Payne noted.

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a safety-approved crib or bassinet in the same room with the parent or caregiver, according to Payne. Adult beds are not made for babies and carry a risk of accidental entrapment and suffocation. A baby’s risk of dying is 40 times greater while sleeping on an adult bed rather than in a safe crib.

Parents can create a safe sleeping area for their baby by always placing the baby on his/her back on a firm mattress covered with only a tight fitting crib sheet. Also, parents should remove all soft, loose or fluffy bedding, including pillows, blankets and stuffed animals from the baby’s sleeping space.

“We want Hoosier families to realize that bed-sharing with an infant is an alarming unsafe practice. It only takes a moment for a child to suffocate...a moment that will be frozen in time and a horror that will last forever,” Payne concluded.

Bowling echoes the warning, saying the problem isn’t “just somewhere else. It’s here in Ripley County as well,” she told the Osgood Journal.

You can support prevention efforts by purchasing a KIDS FIRST TRUST FUND license place. More information is available at