Crime

August 26, 2014

Richland coroner announces program to stem tide of infant sleep deaths

COLUMBIA, SC Richland County Coroner Gary Watts on Tuesday announced a new program to reduce needless infant deaths.

COLUMBIA, SC Richland County Coroner Gary Watts on Tuesday announced a new program to reduce needless infant deaths.

“This is a situation that touches everybody,” said Watts, explaining that since 2012, 16 infants under one year old had died in Richland County while sleeping due to unsafe sleeping conditions.

Major causes of these deaths are babies sleeping with a caregiver, parent or sibling who rolls over on them and suffocates them, clutter in cribs and blocks a baby’s airways and babies not sleeping on their backs, Watts said.

The campaign Watts announced will include six-second spots on seven area digital billboards donated by Lamar Advertising, classes for parents and caregivers, as well as outreaches to hospitals and pediatricians.

Statewide, some 435 infants have died since 2012 in circumstances linked to unsafe sleeping conditions.

The program’s slogan is “Sleep Right Through the Night.”

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