COVINGTON, LA. — Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare, and the pain cuts even deeper knowing the death could of been prevented.
“I will tell you, of all the scenes I’ve responded to, probably the most devastating is when that parent realizes that they may have contributed to that infant’s death by putting them in an unsafe sleep environment,” said St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston
Dr. Preston says in the United States, 3,500 children under the age of one die each year. He says of those deaths, 80% of them are related to a co-sleeping environment.
In the last year, seven infants have died in St. Tammany Parish and five of those deaths were from unsafe sleeping conditions.
Now, the St. Tammany Coroners Office is trying to change that. They’ve teamed up with the national Cribs for Kids organization, teaching parents how to protect their children from unsafe sleeping conditions.”
The Cribs for Kids organization provides cribs to families in need and educates parents about the importance of sleeping environments. St. Tammany Parish is now offering their own educational program on how to prevent infant deaths, and at the end of that program, the family gets a pack-and-play safe, sleep environment crib.
“It’s not the crib that saves the lives, it’s the educational component and the basics are the ABC’s of sleep. Always alone, on their back and in a crib,” said Dr. Preston.
Dr. Preston says they held their first class last week, and are creating more time options to accommodate parents’ schedules. He says the classes are worth the time, because that time could save a child’s life.
Dr. Preston says they are working with the Northshore Foundation to raise money for crib donations. If you’re interested in making a donation, you can go to the St. Tammany Parish Coroners Office website at www.stpcoroner.org. If you want to sign up for the classes, give them at call at 985-781-1150.