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Dakota County Launches Campaign to Prevent SIDS Deaths

Posted at: 04/26/2013 3:56 PM
Updated at: 04/26/2013 7:45 PM
By: Beth McDonough

It's happened again.

Another baby dying while sleeping at a daycare.

Eleven-month-old Gabby Free stopped breathing Tuesday and died at the hospital; her death is the second SIDS-related death this year.

It's another reason why one Minnesota community is launching an ambitious campaign to educate people about safe sleeping positions. It's called Sleep On It.

There are 11,000 licensed in-home daycare providers in the state -- 800 in Dakota County alone. Three babies in Dakota County have died due to being in unsafe sleeping positions, including three-month-old Dane Ableindinger at an Eagan daycare last summer. 

His mom, Stephanie, shared her pain in a county-sponsored video now showing on YouYube. "When you drop your child off you entrust them with the daycare," she said. "Our lives are forever changed."

Kelly Harder heads up the awareness effort in Dakota County. He helped to create a startling postcard with a small child-sized coffin on it and is being mailed countywide. "Do the right thing," he said. "It's something that is preventable, and we want to show that and support in anyway we can as well to make sure there aren't anymore deaths."

That includes training classes for parents and professional caretakers.

The Department of Human Services says in 2010 and 2011 there were 11 SIDS deaths statewide -- none last year but two so far this year. The department wants all Minnesotans to know that the way you lay down an infant makes all the difference.

State law requires daycare centers to put babies 12 months and younger on their backs to sleep. Governor Mark Dayton's budget proposal calls for safety changes: increasing the frequency of training for child care providers to every year instead of every five years, plus double the hours of training from eight to sixteen every year.

Find out more about preventing SIDS deaths here.