A spike in the number of sudden infant deaths – 13 in the past 18 months – has prompted health officials to warn parents of dangers posed to babies by secondhand smoke and sleeping in the same bed with their parents.
Those two risk factors of SIDS factored in the local deaths, said Julie Graham, spokeswoman for the Spokane Regional Health District. About half the deaths occurred in situations where babies slept with parents.
Babies can suffocate if they sleep on pillows that are too fluffy or if they get too close to a parent. They can also become too warm, Graham said.
In several cases, the babies slept in close proximity to secondhand smoke, the carcinogens of which are especially dangerous to infants. Pregnant women in Spokane smoke at a rate of twice the state average.