Eighteen Tragic, Preventable Infant Deaths

In a town somewhere in Connecticut last year, a 6-month-oldboy was fed late one night. His mother fell asleep, and when she awoke, she assumed the baby had been put in his swing by his father, as was usual after the baby ate. But the baby hadn’t been moved, and a few hours later, the parents discovered him swaddled tightly, face down in their bed. The baby’s cause of death was classified as undetermined by the state Child Review Fatality Panel, which is charged with examining unexpected deaths of children under the age of 18 who have previously come into contact with state services. But as State Child Advocate Sarah Eagan said at a recent legislative forum, babies “don’t just die from what we used to call crib death.” Amid the state’s tragic infant and toddler homicides and horrific cases of abuse, a sad number of infant and toddler deaths are entirely preventable simply by paying attention to the place that should be the safest, where they sleep.