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Effort to Stop Infant Deaths in Westchester

County officials and local hospitals have developed a safe sleeping campaign to help stop infant deaths in our area.


County officials and local hospitals are working to stop infant deaths that are caused by unsafe sleeping environments. 26 infant deaths in Westchester have been caused by unsafe sleeping environments over the past six years, according to the Westchester County Child Fatality Review Team. The review team was put together six years ago. Their job is to review all suspicious child deaths that occur in our county.

Here are the top four reasons that the Review Team cited for those 26 infant deaths:

•    The use of inappropriate bedding
•    The use of pillows or stuffed animals in the sleeping area
•    Sleeping in an adult bed with one or more other individuals
•    The use of drugs or alcohol by adults before bed time

In response to their findings, the County Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT) has developed a safe sleeping campaign. The campaign was unveiled today at Bronxville's Lawrence Hospital. The effort is being spearheaded by the Westchester D.A. and eight county hospitals.

The key element to the campaign is a six-minute video, which educated parents about safe sleeping practices for their baby.

“In the interest of promoting safe sleeping practices, we created these important resources for parents and caregivers that these participating Westchester hospitals have agreed to show to new parents following the birth of a baby,” said Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. “We know that these deaths were preventable and that is why we are committed to communicating this potentially life-saving information before the new parent or parents leave the hospital."

The following hospitals will start distributing the video in English and Spanish:

  • Hudson Valley Hospital Center,
  • Lawrence Hospital Center,
  • Westchester Medical Center; Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center,
  • Northern Westchester Hospital,
  • Phelps Memorial Hospital,
  • St. John’s Riverside Medical Center,
  • Sound Shore Medial Center of Westchester,
  • White Plains Hospital Center.

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