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"DCFS investigates 20 cases each year where babies never see their first birthday because they suffocate while sleeping with a parent in a bed or on a couch," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "Our commercial is a powerful warning for parents that the dangers of co-sleeping are simply too great a risk."
In 2010, DCFS investigated a record number of 30 cases of child fatalities due to co-sleeping. The number of investigations last year also was above average at 22. Five cases already have been reported in 2012.
Initially, the safe sleep commercial will target Shreveport, Lake Charles, Monroe and Lafayette because those areas have the highest rates of co-sleeping fatalities. Since 2008, 21 cases were reported in the Shreveport Region, 12 in Lake Charles, eight in Monroe and six in Lafayette.
These numbers prompted DCFS to develop the commercial to provide a compelling image and message for parents in an effort to curb the high rate of infant deaths due to co-sleeping.
Johnson says these deaths can be prevented by giving babies their own safe space to sleep.
"The only place a baby should sleep both at both nighttime and at nap time is in their own bed, on a firm surface and placed on their back. Parents should also make sure that the baby's bed is free from loose bedding, stuffed animals and pillow-like crib bumpers," said Johnson. "A safe alternative to co-sleeping is room-sharing, where a baby sleeps in his or her crib or bassinet near the parents' bed allowing them to stay close during the night."
DCFS' safe sleep commercial was developed by the agency's Office of Communications and Governmental Affairs and produced by Louisiana-based Wish Picture Shows.
View the television commercial, which will run on network and cable stations, and learn more about safe sleep at www.dcfs.la.gov/safesleep.