Co-sleeping blamed, suspected in five infant deaths this year

Friday, March 11, 2011 - 5:13pm

Five infants have been found dead in Shreveport since the beginning of this year after accidentally being suffocated by a parent rolling over in their sleep.

Caddo Parish has already seen a total of six infant deaths this year.  Caddo Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma confirms that four of the deaths are due to co-sleeping and another is suspected for the same reason.  Positional asphyxia in a crib caused the sixth death.

Dr. Neera Chhabra, M.D. of Willis Knighton Pediatrics told us that she understands that parents are exhausted during the night and will let the crying baby sleep with them in their bed.  "You have to give up that temptation and put them in their bed to sleep because it's a lot safer," said Dr. Chhabra.

Sid Cheatwood, the owner of Baby World of Shreveport, told us that the main concern his customers have is the safety of the crib and bedding for their infant.  "We recommend that they don't use the bumper pads until the child gets old enough to turn over," he said.

Along with the importance of the firmness of the mattress, the crib mattress should also fit snugly inside the crib to leave little room between the crib walls and the mattress.  Cheatwood told us that regulations for manufacturing mattresses are very strict enforcing the firmness, safety and ability to fill out the crib completely.

But even the safest crib and bedding will not help if the baby falls asleep with their parents on their bed, couch or a chair.  A baby put to sleep in his own crib is 20 times less susceptible to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as opposed to a baby that's co-sleeping in a parent's bed, explained Dr. Chhabra.

She insists that no matter how tired parents are and how much they do not want to hear the baby crying at night, parents should always put the baby in the crib to sleep.


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