According to the New York Police Department (NYPD), three infants have passed away from suffocation within one week in the city while sleeping with siblings or other Family Members.

Parents and siblings pose hazards to babies in their sleep

The latest incident involves three-month-old Jernard Moore, who was found unconscious by his mother, 36-year-old Crystal Alleyne in her apartment in the Bronx at 3:50 a.m. on Wednesday. While the baby was rushed by medics to the Jacobi Medical Center, he died on arrival. Pix 11 reports that there were no obvious signs of trauma to the baby. According to police, they believe Alleyne had accidentally rolled over onto her son in the night.

As noted by NBC New York, the previous incident happened last Thursday, when four-month-old Urijah Murray died after becoming pinned down under the weight of his eight-year-old sibling’s legs in an apartment in Morrisania. The baby had been placed in a bed with the eight-year-old and another five-year-old sibling. Urijah’s mother discovered the infant in an unconscious state. The infant was taken to Lincoln Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

As reported by the New York Daily News, at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Analyah-Lynn Howard, the third baby, was found unconscious in her mother’s bed in Queens. The NYPD believes the infant’s mother had rolled on top of her while she slept, causing her accidental suffocation.

New York City campaigns for child safety

The city has been running a campaign over the last month in an effort to educate parents about safe sleeping practices for babies.

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Dr. Deborah Kaplan of the Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health of the city’s Health Department told the media that her heart goes out to the families who have lost their loved ones.

Reportedly between 40 and 50 babies are lost each year in the city to sleep-related injuries. Statistics for 2014 show 40 similar fatalities, while in 2015, 48 babies died. While data for the current year is not available, Kaplan said they have found over the years that the rates do not decrease.

The de Blasio administration has now set aside $500,000 per year in an effort to reduce these tragedies in a wide-reaching educational campaign. Working in partnership with NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services, the plan will include an instructional “safe sleep” flyer, to be mailed with each baby’s birth certificate. The deputy director of the Safe Sleep initiative, Lusta Phanord said they are using every possible avenue to prevent the sleep-related deaths. The Safe Sleep campaign will also feature in hair and nail salons, bus shelters, Laundromats and bodegas in Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn as well as some areas of Staten Island and Queens.

Main causes of infant suffocation

According to the data, the main causes of baby suffocation are where infants are placed on their stomachs or their sides in their cribs, or when surrounded by toys or a blanket. Those infants who sleep in their parents’ or siblings’ beds are also highly at risk of suffocation. Statistics also show there is a far higher rate of sleep-related infant deaths in low-income neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Kaplan went on to elaborate about sleeping positions for babies, saying that while sleeping on their stomachs might seem comfortable, it is actually far more dangerous. She said the baby’s airway becomes compressed, meaning that any small thing, like a stuffed animal or bumper, could suffocate the infant.