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Onesies donated to Abilene hospitals for SUIDs awareness

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ABILENE, Texas - The Taylor County Child Fatality Review Team made a donation Tuesday morning in an effort to raise awareness of sudden unexplained infant deaths, or SUIDs, in the area.

The group donated onesies -- adorned with a design featuring an arrow pointing up and the words "This side up when I'm sleeping" - to Hendrick Medical Center and Abilene Regional Medical Center to give to parents of newborns.

They'll also be given information on safe sleeping habits to reduce the number of infant deaths in the county.

In 2015, two of the 11 preventable child deaths in Taylor County were classified as a SUID, and in 2016 it was three of seven. Casey Wasson, presiding officer of the review team, says the increase can be attributed to the growing trend of co-sleeping, or allowing your baby to sleep in the same bed as you.

"A lot of times parents- especially if they're deep sleepers, they will roll over and smother the child and never even know it," Wasson said.

Crystal Haspel, a contract manager with the Department of Family and Protective Services, said parents might not realize what they're doing is dangerous.

"We have parents that are extremely stressed out that will do anything to get their kids to go to sleep and so if that means that the kids will sleep on their stomach, then that's what they're going to do or put stuffed toys in the crib or blankets ... to comfort them," Haspel said.

Wasson added that it's important to bond with your baby but when it comes to sleeping, babies need their own space. She said the majority of SUIDs cases affect infants under the age of 6 months. The goal of this donation is to reverse this trend.

Newborn parents are told to have their babies sleep in the same room but in their own, empty bed, and to face them up when sleeping. If you let your baby sleep in a swing or car seat, make sure they are properly strapped in.

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