South Texas Has Highest Rate of Infant Smothering Deaths in State

Police are investigating the death a four-month old baby boy that was found dead Saturday morning at the Paradise Bay Apartments off of Weber.

Police said the baby was in bed with his mother and when she woke up, she noticed the child was unresponsive. Police are waiting on a autopsy report to figure out the precise cause of the death.

While it has not yet been confirmed whether or not the baby was accidentally smothered in its sleep, according to state health figures, the South Texas area has the highest rate of fatality when it comes to accidental baby smothering deaths compared to the rest of the state. That happens when a parent accidentally rolls over onto a small child in the same bed.

Every year, the South Texas area has about 15-25 smothering deaths in the region. Sonja Edleman is part of the Child Fatality Review Team, a statewide organization that looks into infant deaths. She said part of the problem is that we have a lot of families that are living together.

"Co-sleeping. We haven't talked enough about it, so people think it's okay and kind, and you're taking care of your baby to have them close with you," Edleman said. "But the best you can have them do is have them sleep alone."

Edleman said children most susceptible are babies under 12 months old. That is because babies of that age cannot speak, cannot turn over and cannot make noise to alert someone.

There is really not a specific demographic of parents that are involved in these cases.

"It's across the board for ethnicity, across the board for age and socioeconomic status," Edleman said.

The number one tip for parents is to make sure your baby is sleeping on its back alone in a flat surface, with no pillows or clutter like stuffed animals in its way.

"Not even once," Edleman said. "Not even when you are the most tired should you be in the bed with your baby, because you want to wake up and have a healthy baby."

For more information, you can call Driscoll Children's Hospital at 361-694-5000.


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