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Infant deaths highlight need for safety awareness

Reported by: Amber Dixon
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Updated: 8/22/2013 4:40 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Police are sounding the alarm to parents and anyone who takes care of children. Three babies have died within the last week and 14 more in just the last several months, all while they were sleeping.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) happens when an infant dies while sleeping. Victims tend to suffocate on soft bedding, blankets, or stuffed animals. Metro police say so far this year, 17 infants died while sleeping.

This number is worrisome but not shocking to child safety expert Jeanne Marsala. A number that Marsala does find shocking is the number of deaths caused by co-sleeping – when parents sleep in the same bed as an infant.

“Unfortunately, we do see 2 to three deaths every single month from co-sleeping,” Marsala said. “Co-sleeping became the number one death of children under the age of 18 in Clark County last year, so the numbers are creeping up and surpassing things such as motor vehicle crashes pedestrian injuries. Drownings used to be on the top of that list.”

Marsala says the only place for a baby is their own crib, free from obstructions.

But SIDS is not 100 percent preventable. The son of Melissa Haberzettl, Jake, died six years ago from SIDS. Haberzettl says Jake stopped breathing on his own.

“Funny how I cannot tell the story for so long, and I tell it and I start crying again,” Haberzettl said.

Had he lived, Jake would be six, with two little brothers. His mom can't help wonder what Jake would have been like.

“Seeing my other kids, I always wonder, ‘oh what would he have liked?’ I wonder what kind of sports he would have wanted to do, or what superheroes he would have liked. And not having that leaves an emptiness.”

So what's the best way for your infant to sleep? Child safety experts say the best way for an infant to sleep is in a crib, wearing just one layer of clothing, and wrapped tight in a blanket like a little burrito. You don't want to lay a blanket over them, and you don't want any extra materials in the crib.

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