MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News)--A warning for parents and grandparents of young children. Louisiana has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation - nearly twice the national average. One of the biggest reasons this is happening is that mothers are making some big mistakes when it comes to the environment their child is sleeping in.
They're the most precious thing in a parent's life. But because some mothers can't afford a crib for their infant, they place their babies in bed with them. The end result is tragic.
"In an adult bed, they can suffocate," said Lindsey Murry, healthcare director for the Children's Coalition. "They can experience rollover from their parents, they can suffocate in a pillow and in adult bedding."
That's why it's important to create a safe crib for a child to sleep in, located near the parents' bed. It should have only a mattress and a sheet.
"It shouldn't have bumper pads, no stuffed animals, no pillows, no blankets," Murry said. "We recommend a sleep sack for the baby."
While many of our grandmothers used to place babies on their stomach, doctors now say infants are safest when they sleep on their back.
There's no specific age limit, but a good rule of thumb is to move your baby out of his crib into a bed when it becomes too big for him, and the crib is unsafe to where he can crawl out.
There's one other reason Louisiana has a high infant death rate. Women here aren't taking steps to stay healthy during pregnancy. Expectant mothers with hypertension and diabetes, and those who are obese, put their babies more at risk for developing problems during pregnancy.
If you - or someone you know - needs help affording a crib or you have more questions about safe sleep environments for babies, call the Children's Coalition at 323-8775 for more information.