HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A frightening statistic is out about baby deaths in Connecticut. Babies are more likely to die because of unsafe sleeping conditions than from car accidents, choking, or falls. Last year, at least 18 children died in Connecticut because of unsafe sleeping conditions.

A new baby doesn’t come with an owners’s manual, but medical professionals and some state lawmakers say it may be time to require one.

According to the state Child Advocate, over the last 12 years, the number of Connecticut infants who died where unsafe sleep conditions were present was almost three times the number of infants that died from child abuse.

“There are more children, more babies who die associated with unsafe sleep conditions in the State of Connecticut than from any other accidental injury,” said Sarah Eagan, Connecticut’s Child Advocate.

State lawmakers want all hospitals to be required to provide safe sleep informational materials to all new parents. Among the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should always be:

  • Placed on their back and never on their stomach
  • In the same room, but never in the parent’s bed
  • On a firm surface with fitted sheets
  • With no blankets, pillows or toys. That’s what often causes strangulation or overheating.

Kelly Luxenberg is one of at least two new mothers in the state legislature. She says she was given no information about safe baby sleeping when she left the hospital with baby Zoey 11 months ago.  

“No, no, there were no rules that they told me when I left the hospital,” said Luxenberg.

Pediatricians from the Yale School of Medicine and Children’s Medical Center in Hartford admit that guidance to parents on safe baby sleep is inconsistent around the state, and that the proposed law requiring it would help.  

“We then have more strength to go back and promote change in our own institutions,” said Dr. Michael Soltis, a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “We do a lot of education across the state or other hospitals who care for infants as well, and we can make that change occur further down the line,”

The new leaders of the state senate, Martin Looney of New Haven and Bob Duff of Norwalk, who is the father of two young children, are being joined by nine other senators in pushing this proposal.