LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among U.S. babies each year, according to new data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Experts say these deaths can be easily prevented, but it’s up to parents to take the proper steps to protect them.
Baby’s Bounty is a local organization that provides new parents with tips and tools on how to care for their babies. In response to the rise in infant deaths, the organization has created a 30-minute safe sleeping course for new and current parents alike. The course will be free to attend and will be offered in both English and Spanish.
Dr. Rutu Ezhuthachan, a board-certified pediatrician in Las Vegas, says parents most often sleep with their babies in the same bed because of cultural traditions, or because they think it's safer. However, experts say it’s actually a habit that should be avoided altogether.
Dr. Ezhuthachan says babies are obligant nose breathers, meaning they breathe primarily through their noses and not their mouths. So putting them to bed in the wrong position can cause them to stop breathing.
“I really think parents need to have the baby in their own sleep set up… a crib, a bassinet… not in the bed with the parents,” Dr. Ezhuthachan said. “Because it’s safer if they are on their own, and really, until six months of age, that bassinet should be in the same room with their parents so they could respond to the baby as needed.”