Child deaths caused by neglect or abuse skyrocketed in 2012, according to a year end analysis by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
At the top of the list was suffocation by neglect. Most deaths occurred when parents slept with a newborn or infant, unknowingly rolled over onto the child in the middle of the night and suffocated the child. Other causes of suffocation occurred when parents ignored safety warnings and allowed an infant to sleep with a blanket, sleep on an adult mattress or couch, or sleep on its stomach. 40 of these types of death were reported in 2012.
Though the deaths may have been accidental, parents are held accountable according to Illinois law.
To address this issue, DCFS plans to continue a Safe Sleep Campaign which was launched last year. Spokesperson Dave Clarkin says that while health care providers are the leading advocates for the campaign, the message needs to be reinforced by friends, family and grandparents in particular.