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Apr 29, 2008

Baby dies after mom falls asleep while breastfeeding

Story PictureWe’ve heard about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which is when a child simply stops breathing and dies while sleeping. The latest infant fatality, which occurred last Friday, has not yet been conclusively explained but SIDS has not been ruled out. Twenty-five year old Earlette Sanchez reported to police that around four on Friday afternoon, both she and her two month old daughter, Aaliyah Bowman, fell asleep as she was breastfeeding the child on a bed. When Sanchez woke up about an hour later, she discovered that Aaliyah was not breathing. And while the autopsy proved to be inconclusive, what is not in controversy is how to reduce the probability of infant deaths. Dr. Victor Rosado is a pediatrician at Belize Medical Associates.

Dr. Victor Rosado, Paediatrician, Belize Medical Associates
“Put your baby on the back to sleep, breastfeed the baby. Do not use bedding or pillows, do not use bedding in terms of comforters or pillows in a baby crib because that can smother the baby. You want a flat, more or less stiff mattress with a sheet only on the bed and the baby should be placed on the back to sleep. Actually there is a campaign called “Back to Sleep” that reduce the percentage of babies dying from SIDS by thirty to fifty percent that was done in the United States.”

Marion Ali
“But putting the baby on the back to sleep doesn’t eliminate the issue of choking.”

Dr. Victor Rosado
“Well that argument is always brought up. However, it has never been proven in clinical studies. Some people then advocating for putting the baby on the side but putting on the baby on the back still is the safest position for the infant to fall asleep.”

“One of the most important things is to try and pre-empt what will occur. Sometimes that’s difficult but basically that’s the advice that we can give to parents. You then have to put yourself in let’s say the mind of a toddler and say my child can climb over this ledge and fall into a bucket of water so I would not want to leave my buckets filled with water after washing the clothes. I probably would not want to leave kerosene in a Coke bottle because the baby will drink the kerosene or the disinfectant in open bottles because they tend to have the same colours as soft drinks. Those are the type of things we see at hospitals.”

“Children under three or four years old should not be playing with toys with small parts or even eating food; things like nuts are one of the main choking hazards that will eventually go into the airway. Our infant mortality rate for the past five years has been around sixteen to maybe twenty for one thousand live births, has varied around those numbers. That spells out to about a hundred and fifty babies under the age of one year dying every year.”

Marion Ali
“Is that a high rate for us, for a population of three hundred thousand?”

Dr. Victor Rosado
“That is comparable to the entire region; to Central America and the Caribbean.”

Because baby Aaliyah’s post mortem was inconclusive, further testing will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Police say they do not suspect foul play.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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