Infant deaths
  Source: CT Child Fatality Review Panel

A grandmother fell asleep on the couch while holding her 8-week-old grandson, awakening later to find him lying face down, blue and not breathing.

This story of a child dying from unsafe sleeping conditions is not unique, according to the Connecticut Child Fatality Review Panel. Monday afternoon it issued a “Public Health Alert” to spread the word that dangerous sleep conditions are the leading cause of infants dying in Connecticut.

“Infants in Connecticut are more likely to die from unsafe sleeping conditions than from child abuse, car accidents, choking, drowning, falls, or any other source of accidental injury,” said the co-chairs of the Connecticut Child Fatality Review Panel in their report.

Of the 23 infants who died from unexplained causes or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, 18 infants had risk factors with their sleeping conditions, the alert reports.

The causes of death were unexplained or unexpected among 43 infants who died in 2011 and 2012, but 31 of those 43 had risk factors in their sleeping environments.

Between 2002 and 2010, there were 211 infant fatalities in Connecticut. Of these, SIDS was blamed for 117, “A finding that may not accurately account for unsafe sleep conditions present at the time of death,” the alert reports. Seventy-seven of the deaths were classified as “undetermined, a finding often associated with unsafe sleep conditions.” Seventeen deaths were classified as due to asphyxia.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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