Sharing perspectives on SIDS

by Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
March 12, 2009

There's a strong belief that many of Minnesota's 60 to 90 sudden infant deaths each year are preventable. Investigators are now learning that unsafe sleeping arrangements are fairly common with these deaths. In particular, they've discovered many situations where parents and babies co-sleep or bed-share.

Below, four Minnesotans in the medical field share their experience with sudden infant death.

Lindsey Thomas is the Dakota County Medical Examiner. She talks about a sudden infant death involving young parents and a conflict over sleeping arrangements at the grandparent's house.

Andrew Baker is the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. He recalls the first time he worked with a family who had lost a baby in an unsafe sleep environment.

Patrick Carolan is the Medical Director at the Minnesota Sudden Infant Death Center. During his residency training he saw nine families who had babies die of SIDS during a two-month period of time. It had a profound impact on him.

Roberta Geiselhart is a death investigator in Hennepin County. Her picture shows her holding two infant dolls. She uses them to demonstrate the hazards that babies face in certain sleep environments. She says she used to buy unsafe infant beds and products at garage sales and throw them in the trash.