Babies dying because of how they sleep

Kosair Children's Hospital
Kosair Children's Hospital
Erika Janes, Kosair Children's Hospital nurse
Erika Janes, Kosair Children's Hospital nurse
Lieutenant Barry Wilkerson, LMPD Homicide
Lieutenant Barry Wilkerson, LMPD Homicide

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It is the most precious stage of life, but babies are dying every month in Jefferson County. Those who see it first hand said the cause is simple: Ignorance.

That is why Louisville Metro Police are now getting involved.

Police said the problem is parents who think it is OK to sleep with their babies or let them sleep on their stomachs.

"It's like the worst kept secret in this town," said Erika Janes, a nurse at Kosair Children's Hospital.

For years, Kosair Children's Hospital has done its best to get the word out about baby deaths by sending flyers of information to health departments around the state and handing out pre-natal packets to new parents.

But, Janes said there is one big mental roadblock, "I just don't believe parents really think this could happen to them."

Police said maybe it is something their parents did, so they think it is OK or maybe, it is just ignorance. Whatever the case, "We see too many of these baby deaths," said Lieutenant Barry Wilkerson, the commander of LMPD Homicide. He said the deaths happen much more than people realize.

Every month in Louisville infants are dying.

"That's one of the biggest issues of detectives is the fact that they see all these children dying needlessly," he said.

Janes added, "We review all of the deaths that have happened in Jefferson County and every month there's at least one, if not two or three babies that have been lost.

Janes meets monthly with the Jefferson County Child Fatality Review Team.

Like homicide detectives, hospital staff see the aftermath of senseless crime, but this is not about abuse. They say, it is about babies dying because of how parents are putting them to sleep---in the bed with them or on their stomachs.

LMPD is getting involved to help Kosair push a new Public Service Announcement around the state.  It highlights the ABC's of keeping infants safe: A baby should sleep alone, on its Back and in a Crib.

"You've got a totally helpless infant that, in a compromised situation, can't do anything to get out of it," Janes said.

Janes added, unlike years past, when it was just labeled a mysterious baby death, now there is an autopsy and a crime scene investigation.

The goal now is getting the message out there to prevent it.

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