SOUTH BEND — Ten infants under age 1 died in their sleep last year in St. Joseph County, and in almost all of the cases, they shared an adult bed with at least one person.
The relatively high number of those deaths — more than double the number in 2016 — was discussed Wednesday by the county’s Child Fatality Review Team, which investigates deaths of infants and children.
The review team found that bed-sharing was a “risk factor” present in the infant death cases, but it was not necessarily the cause.
In light of the death statistics, the team highlighted the importance of safe infant sleeping practices.
Parents should never share adult beds with infants, the team says, and infants should have their own place to sleep, such as a crib, Pack ’n Play, bassinet or Baby Box.
The team says infant sleeping areas should be in the same room as adults. Infants should be put to sleep on their backs, and surfaces should be free of pillows, blankets and toys.
Sudden unexpected infant deaths — or SUIDs — is the term used to describe deaths of infants that often happen during sleep and in which the cause is not obvious before an investigation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.