The city of Brooklyn Center is dealing with a sudden rise in SIDS cases. In the past five months, there have been four Sudden Infant Death Syndrome cases in that city.
"It's tragic and unprecedented as far as I'm concerned," said Brooklyn Center Police Commander Tim Gannon. "I've worked for the city for about 19 years, and I haven't seen that many infant deaths in a four or five-month period, ever."
For the parents who lost their children, the emptiness is unimaginable.
"We're dealing with infants ranging from the ages of four months to seven months," said Gannon.
SIDS is the leading cause of deaths among infants one month to age 1. Some of those cases occurred when parents share a bed with their infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents not share a bed with babies.
"We do believe one of the cases occurred when the infant was sleeping with either a sibling or a parent," said Gannon.
"It's cozy and wonderful to sleep with the baby and maybe easier to breast feed and respond," said Marjorie Hogan, pediatrician with Hennepin County Medical Center and the University of Minnesota. "But we know that unexpected strangulation and suffocation can occur even with totally loving parents."
Hogan says infants should be placed in a safe crib, bassinette or playard that has a firm mattress and fits that particular bed. She says there should be no soft things in the crib, like stuffed animals, blankets or pillows.
Health experts also suggest babies be put to sleep on their backs.
"I would implore parents and providers, and physicians and nurses and people who deal with families, to make sure we're keeping babies safe in bed. That's really the best way we can counter this tragedy," said Hogan.
There are a number of things that can contribute to SIDS, such as medical illness, ingestion and trauma. The Brooklyn Center Police Department is teaming up with the Minnesota SIDS center to provide information to residents. Educational seminars will take place throughout the city in the next couple of weeks.
Sonya Goins, reporting
Wednesday, September 18, 2013