Three Des Moines Babies Die in Four Days

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines Police say in the past four days, three infants have died.

It's an alarming number that has authorities and child advocates taking action.

“The consequences can be drastic, they can be fatal,” said Sgt. Jason Halifax with the Des Moines Police Department.

Sgt. Halifax says on Sunday, police were called to a home in the 1700 block of Washington on a report of a baby not breathing. According to the police report, a couple awoke to find their 2-month-old blue and unresponsive after they were all sleeping together on an air mattress.

On Tuesday, police were called to House of Mercy where a mother says she was feeding her 3-month-old a bottle in bed when she fell asleep and awoke to the baby not breathing.

And on Wednesday morning, police were called to an apartment in the 2700 block of Fleur where a 2-month-old child was placed on its stomach in bed with its parents and never woke up.

“It's alarming and it's also the opportunity to really start the conversation about safe sleep and safe sleep practices,” said Janna Day with Safe Kids Greater Des Moines.

Day says parents should avoid sleeping with their child in their bed and instead have the child sleep next to them in a crib or bassist without anything extra.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child is always put to sleep on their back and you're going to want to keep all loose clothing, blankets, stuffed animals, anything like that out of the crib, crib bumpers are also not recommended,” Day said.

Police have listed all three deaths as accidental and says no charges will be filed, but Sgt. Halifax is hoping these cases are a wakeup call for new parents to take safe sleeping practices seriously.

“The concern is are you exposing your child to situations that may be more hazardous to them if certain situations or certain conditions exist. No parent deserves to have to go through this at all,” Sgt. Halifax said.

Blank Children's Hospital has a safety store open to the public. The store sells several children's safety items including  sleep sacs, which are recommended for safe sleep practices for $11.

The stores is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.


CORRECTION: In earlier versions of this story we misidentified the deaths as accidental suffocation.