Leavenworth community helping to educate families to decrease infant deaths

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- A mother should never have to know the pain of losing a child, especially when it can be prevented.

Ahead of Mother's Day, the Leavenworth County Attorney's Office is working to educate families in order to decrease infant deaths.

Thirty-two in Leavenworth and more than 1,000 in Kansas. Those numbers account for the number of deaths of children in their first year of life, according to the Kansas Department of Health.

The community in Leavenworth is working to decrease those numbers through education and a Community Baby Shower for Safe Sleep.

"I thought I knew everything having four kids," Amanda Horne said.

Horne is an experienced mom of three, soon to be four, and an OB Technician at Saint Luke's Cushing in Leavenworth County. She still learned something new about safe sleep at a community baby shower, the first of its kind in Leavenworth.

"What was knowledgeable when I had my first 13 years ago versus to now is completely different," Horne said. "There's so much more information out there now."

And more avenues of support, too.

"We can't prevent what we don't know," Stacey Hurla said.

Hurla led one of the several demonstrations. Teaching current and expecting moms what a safe sleeping environment looks like from blankets to a burp rag hanging over the edge of the crib.

"Why it's unsafe is if a baby were to roll over and grab this and pull it over it could suffocate," Hurla explained.

Representatives from WIC, the Health Department and local teachers covered topics like smoking cessation, CPR for babies, immunizations, and co-sleeping.

"We had several deaths related to infants that could have been prevented if they were not co-sleeping or sleeping with their parent," Leavenworth county attorney Todd Thompson said.

The average number of infant deaths has gone down over the years, but Thompson says one is one too many when it could have been prevented.

"All we can do is hope," Thompson said. "Education is going to be the best thing to get the word out about these issues to help lower and continue to lower SIDS of infants under a year."

Horne is taking home an updated skill set and some new hardware.

"I got a little sleep sack to take home, which I'm excited to go ahead and use and take out some of those blankets and leave them for when they're older," Horne said.

Every mom who went through line of booths learning about sleep safety received a pack-and-play crib and swaddle sack. You can find more Resources related to safe sleep for infants at Leavenworth County Health Department by clicking here

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