(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County Coroner Rob Herr says the death of 9-month-old Madilyn Reed has been ruled as a sudden unexplained death of an infant, with circumstance that could not be definitively determine while all other known causes were either ruled out or inconclusive.
Indiana State Police are investigating Reed's death. They were called to a home in the 300 block of Warren Street on April 19, after a person called reporting the baby was not breathing.
Herr, who is a member of the statewide Child Fatality Review Committee, says now is an appropriate time for the community to review child safety and infant care plans and then to maintain and put those plans into action.
"Especially important are avoiding co-sleeping with infant children," Herr says "It's particularly dangerous resting or sleeping with an infant while seated in a reclining chair or while reclined or laying on a couch."
Indiana Department of Child Services reviewed more than 292 child deaths from state-fiscal year 2011, varying in causes ranging from medical conditions, to drowning, to unsafe sleeping conditions in the home, to abuse and neglect. In 82 of the fatalities, unsafe sleeping conditions was a factor.
In addition, a report was compiled specifically regarding 40 child deaths directly resulting from abuse or neglect. DCS had prior history with six of those children. Among those children that died from abuse or neglect, a pattern of one or more significant stress factors were found in many cases, such as unemployment, low income, substance abuse, or domestic violence. In some cases, multiple stress factors were present in a single home.
The report also found a pattern of child deaths at the hands of parents' intimate partners, which is a trend that has continued year to year.
Herr provided these other safety tips:
Use appropriate infant bedding, a firm mattress that matches the crib frame, allow only an infant appropriate blankets and remember no toys, pillows or stuffed animals at sleep time.
Be mindful of room temperature and do not overheat the infant or wrap the infant to where he or she cannot move freely.
Keep your infant's area clean and safe; no small toys or items, cord, plastic sheeting or bags, remote controls or other items that cantain or break down into small parts should be within the child's ability access. Also keep their area clean.
If any child care provider or parent in Lawrence County has questions or is struggling contact the DCS at 277-2044 for information and assistance.
"Too often the question is what could have been done to prevent this tragedy," Herr says. "Lets make the effort keep the questions to what we can do to prevent tragedy from happening in the first place and put those answers into practice."
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