GBI warns parents to use safe infant sleep practices

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Agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation want parents to know the basics of safe infant sleep after seven babies died in May.

"When you go to bed at night, you just don't imagine anything of these things happening, but unfortunately, these are the calls that we get almost on a daily basis from somewhere around the State of Georgia," said GBI Special Agent in Charge Trebor Randle.  

Randle is the head of the GBI's Child Fatality Review Unit and said the infants were either sleeping in an adult bed or sleeping with hazardous items in their cribs.  

"The adult bed is a dangerous place for an infant to be placed," Randle explained.  

She said in some cases parents or other children have rolled on top of babies or babies have become wedged between a mattress and the wall.  

For children ages 0 to 12 months, parents and caregivers should follow the ABCs of safe sleep--alone, on their back and in a crib.  The crib should contain a firm mattress, covered with a flat sheet.  There should be no other objects in the crib that could impede a baby's breathing like stuffed animals, pillows, blankets or even crib bumpers.  

"We kind of compare it to car seats," explained Randle.  "I don't know a new parent that would not put their infant in a car seat or have the carrier buckled down. So if you relate it to that, it might be a little bit easier to understand this is just as dangerous when you don't have a pristine sleep environment because the child could suffocate."  

Randle estimated that in half of the cases this year, parents said they were never told about safe sleep practices for their babies.

"The parents will tell me that no one at a pediatrician's office told them that," said Randle.  "Everyone assumes that somebody else is going to do it."  

While the state and birthing officials try to educate parents about safe sleep practices, Randle believes everyone should take some responsibility.  

"If you have a loved one that has recently become a new parent, you're a grandparent, you're an aunt, you're an uncle--we all know somebody.  Just share this message of what safe sleep should look like and you just might save that baby," Randle said.  

For more information on safe sleep, click here