Infant deaths lead LVMPD to discuss dangers of co-sleeping

Co-Sleeping. (Courtesy LVMPD)

Child advocates are raising an alarm about the dangers of sharing a bed with your baby.

So far in 2018, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has investigated 23 sleep-related deaths, five of which took place in October.

"These deaths affect the families of the deceased, friends and often are the cause of broken relationships," LVMPD said in a statement released Thursday.

The deaths have prompted LVMPD's Abuse Neglect Section to partner with Dr. Kelly Kogut, the Medical Director of Children's Surgery at Sunrise Children's Hospital, to discuss the dangers of co-sleeping.

Co-sleeping or sleeping in a crib with stuffed animals and blankets can cause suffocation. There’s also dangers of getting rolled over by a parent, or falling off the bed. Advocates say to follow the ABC’s – alone on their back in a crib.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing. Room-sharing may lower your baby’s risk of SIDS and other sleep- related causes of death.

“That means you can still hear your baby. You can still nearby, but we do want the baby to be alone in their own bed,” said Dr. Kelly Kogut, the Medical Director of Children’s Surgery at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

By alone, she said, that means without stuffed animals, blankets, bumpers or anything that can rumple up and cause injury.

SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old.

Bed-sharing, the release says, may put your baby at risk for SIDS and other dangers, like suffocation.

Kim Amato is the founder and director of Baby’s Bounty, a local non-profit that gives new parents in-need the guidance and things they need for baby, including classes on safe sleeping.

She showed off a crib full of toys and blankets, explaining, “The first thing we say is, 'What’s wrong with this picture? No blankets, nothing hanging on the crib, oh my gosh, the baby is on its tummy.'"

She added that bumpers are also not safe. "They’re more dangerous than if your baby banged their head," she said.

LVMPD said it's a sensitive parenting issue but one that protects all babies.

"We know there are parents out there who will disagree with our message," said Lt Leon Desimone with LVMPD's Abuse & Neglect Unit.

Sgt. Milton added the issue persists across all groups of people. “There’s no ethnic group or economic group or racial group or cultural group that it doesn’t effect.”

During co-sleeping or bed-sharing, a baby can be hurt by:

  • Getting trapped by the bed’s frame, headboard or footboard
  • Getting stuck between the bed and the wall, furniture or other objects
  • Falling off the bed
  • Being suffocated by pillows, blankets or quilts or from laying facedown
  • Having another person roll on top of him
  • SIDS
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