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County advocates infant safe sleeping

Albany officials say 12 infants died preventable deaths in past three years

Albany County District Attorney David Soares helps announce the launch of the "Safe Sleeping" campaign to educate the public on preventing infant deaths.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares helps announce the launch of the "Safe Sleeping" campaign to educate the public on preventing infant deaths. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— The county has also established a Safe Sleeping Task Force to determine how the county can work with the state on ensuring caregivers know the importance of safe sleeping for infants. The Task Force will have its first meeting on Tuesday, March 12.

“We don’t want this to continue to happen,” McCoy said.

Laura Velez, the deputy commissioner for Child Welfare and Community Services at the state Office of Children and Family Services, said there is at least one infant fatality reported in New York state every day. In the past two years, 248 of the 474 infant fatalities reported may be attributable to some kind of unsafe sleeping situation, she said.

“Babies were smothered by loose bed covers, suffocated while sleeping with a caregiver or got wedged while sleeping on a couch or another chair,” Velez said. “These deaths cross cultural, racial, ethnic and economic demographics. It happens everywhere. That’s why the need to educate is so important. All of these deaths were preventable.”

Velez said it’s important caregivers remember the acronym ABC – Alone on their Backs in a Crib. Caregivers should also “room share instead of bed share,” she said.

If caregivers or parents are having trouble finding a safety-approved crib, McCoy said the county will help them find one.

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