MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) - It's a tragedy that happens more than you think. The Mobile Police Department is investigating a number of infant death, many due to parents putting children in the bed with them.
They're called unexplained deaths or a co-sleeping incident. The end result: an infant's death.
"They are more common than people realize. We average over the last few years about one a month, and we do have multiple current investigations going on with these infant deaths," said Officer Chris Levy with the Mobile Police Department.
Levy said it's a nationwide problem, that's why the department wants to make you aware of it. Those at USA Children's and Women's Hospital agree. They said children are most vulnerable once they go home.
The first 12 months is the most important time. That's why USA Children's and Women's educate families before they even leave the hospital.
The hospital has faculty members who visit individuals, churches, and anywhere help is needed. Veronica Hudson is one of those nurses.
"Babies are small, about the size of half a pillow. And if a parent falls asleep, they can roll over on the baby or block their breathing," Hudson said.
Hudson not only teaches the importance of not sleeping with your child, but also the dangers of putting things such as blankets and stuffed animals in the crib.
Hudson said seeing a family after the devastation of losing a child is heartbreaking.
"There are no warning signs. They're devastated, they didn't see it coming and they can't believe it happened. They go to sleep and wake up and the child isn't breathing," said Hudson.
It's a heartbreak, Hudson said, that is preventable.
USA Children's and Women's Hospital and Kohl's Department Stores have developed the Kohl's Infant Safe Sleep Program to help babies sleep safely. The program includes education courses and, for qualifying Mobile County families, a free crib. For more information, call Children's and Women's at 251-415-1000.
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