Alarming numbers released last week show bed-sharing is still a risk factor for sleep-related deaths among infants nationwide. In the study, 68% of more than 8,200 deaths occured while the infant was in bed with a parent. However, for the first time since 2007, there hasn't been a single case this year in Monroe county. Could safe sleep practices for babies be sinking in among parents in our community? Sue VanStrydonck, the co-chair the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition, is hopeful, "People are getting it that where a baby sleeps can really be a matter of life and death." Sue also says we've come along away both in raising awareness about co-sleeping and preventing tragedies. Local numbers tracked between 2007 and 2012 fall in line with the study's findings, ""We started tracking them in 2007. We saw 63 fatalities, and 59% of them had to do with co-sleeping." But this year, it's a different story. So far, there hasn't been a single infant death related to unsafe sleeping in Monroe county. According to Dr. Elizabeth Murray, that is the longest the county has gone without that type of tragedy. Still, she wants new parents to be aware, "You want your child on their back, without any blankets, without any pillows, without any stuffed animals, without any bumpers in their own crib, or bassinet." Beginning in August, the coalition is partnering with Rochester General hospital to start an anti co-sleeping campaign. New moms will receive a kit with different information including a video which features two local stories of infants who died because of unsafe sleeping. Sue VanStrydonck says, ""We have to keep getting the message out there, over and over again. We really want for everybody to begin to take a look at changing behaviors, at changing norms and changing our culture as far as safe sleeping is concerned."
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