MUNCIE – An annual review of deaths in 2018 of children – ranging in age from birth to 17 years – in five East Central Indiana counties again showed the need to end unsafe sleeping practices, Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman said.

The Regional Child Fatality Review Team – looking at cases in Delaware, Blackford, Grant, Jay and Randolph counties – last week released its annual report.

The team includes law enforcement, court and emergency medical service representatives, physicians and nurses, Indiana Department of Child Services officials and coroners, among others, from the five counties, Hoffman is the group’s chairman.

Sixteen deaths of children in 2018 were reviewed.

Three of the deaths, all in Delaware County and involving children under the age of six months, were “attributable to unsafe sleep conditions,” the report said.

“Once again, the team saw multiple instances where infants needlessly died because of unsafe sleeping conditions such as bed sharing,” Hoffman said Friday. “This issue crosses all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines.”

The prosecutor called those death “so upsetting because it is 100 percent preventable.”

“A parent should never think 'this could never happen to me,'” Hoffman said. “The science is undeniable.”

Infants should sleep alone, on their back, in a crib or a pack-n-play with a firm mattress, he added.

Three of the cases reviewed, all in Grant County, involved homicides.

Three other deaths, all of 17-year-olds, were suicides involving firearms. Two of those were in Delaware County, while the third was in Grant County.
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