5 babies die from co-sleeping in 2 weeks in Northeast Florida

Five babies have died in Northeast Florida in two weeks as a result of co-sleeping, which often happens when parents are under the influence, according to a local doctor.

“It’s not something that you really think about, rolling over on your child. You think, ‘I’ll know it’s there,’” said local mother Sarah Cletecka.

Dr. Randell Alexander, head of child protection and forensic pediatrics at UF Health, said 5 is a high number for a two-week period but deaths caused by co-sleeping are not uncommon.

Of the 23 babies that have died in Northeast Florida since the beginning of 2016, 17 deaths were caused by unsafe sleeping environments.

In 2015, 31 babies died from unsafe sleeping conditions.

“Sometimes we see clusters like this,” said Alexander.

He said in many cases parents were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they rolled over onto their babies, causing them to suffocate.

Cletecka said hearing about these deaths is awful, but it's something that should be discussed.
Cletecka said she's napped with her 6-year-old before, but says she'll now spread the word about the dangers of sleeping with an infant.

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