Lynchburg sees uptick in infant sleep-related deaths this year

Expects hit the alarm button rather than snooze

LYNCHBURG, Va. – When it comes to sleeping babies, local child care experts want parents to wake up. Unsafe sleep is the leading cause of non-natural infant death in Virginia.

“There was double the number in 2020 so far than of the entire year of 2019,” said Tiffany Vasser of Lynchburg’s Child Protective Services.

There have been six deaths so far this year.

Lynchburg organizations united Tuesday to hit the alarm button rather than snooze.

October is safe sleep awareness month – meant to draw attention to the hidden dangers of SIDS -- or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The group points out causes, including secondhand smoke and suffocation, by sharing data from a 2018 study.

“The Virginia State Child Fatality Review Team determined 87% of non-natural infant deaths between 2014-2016 were sleep-related in nature,” said Shannon Miles of Centra.

Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema and Fire Chief Greg Wormser also had some advice for parents with young children.

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