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Co-Sleeping, Cluttered Cribs Blamed For Sharp Rise In Infant Deaths

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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Unsafe sleeping is now the leading preventable cause of infant deaths in Los Angeles County, health officials said Wednesday.

KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports new data shows a baby suffocates while co-sleeping with parents or sleeping in a crib cluttered with pillows, blankets, bumper pads and stuffed animals every five days.

Since 2009, 278 healthy babies in Los Angeles County have died from suffocation while sleeping, according to Deanne Tilton Durfee, executive director of the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN).

In fact, more babies died from suffocation due to unsafe sleep than all accidental deaths for children under age 14 combined between 2008 and 2011.

Durfee said sharing a bed, soft mattresses, and cribs cluttered with blankets and toys can all pose sleeping dangers — especially in a child’s first year.

“When parents understand that their baby can suffocate, they look at their infant’s safe sleeping arrangements with new eyes,” she said.

The data was released as part of “Safe Sleep for Baby“, a countywide campaign by ICAN Associates and First 5 L.A. aimed at educating parents about safe sleeping practices.

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