me’s office stresses infant safety
The Travis County medical examiner’s office said there are several wrong ways to put an infant to bed — and those mistakes can be fatal.
The office held a news conference Wednesday to address its growing concern over accidental infant deaths caused by asphyxiation. So far this year, the office has seen seven infant deaths, all of them related to unsafe sleeping environments, according to the medical examiner’s office. Travis County had 13 sleep-related infant asphyxiation deaths in 2009 and 14 in 2008.
Dr. Satish Chundru, the county’s deputy chief medical examiner, said infants are most at risk in the first three months of life, but these deaths are preventable.
Leanne Courtney, a forensic nurse, said an easy way to remember infant death prevention methods is through an ABCDE memory device: Alone, on the Back, in a Crib, with the Dangers Eliminated. Infants should be placed on their backs, alone in their cribs, without any objects surrounding them, she said.
Adults sharing a bed with an infant is the biggest risk factor in sleep-related infant deaths, Courtney said. Other dangers include a mattress that is too big or too small for the crib, which can create crevices or indentations where infants can suffocate. Bumper pads are also a hazard and can suffocate a child, she said.