Escambia County officials alarmed by infant deaths

By: Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- Escambia County officials say that in in 2016, 33 babies there died before their first birthday.

About a quarter of those deaths were related to unsafe sleep practices.

The News Journal reports that although there are some slight variations among infant mortality statistics among local agencies, they agree the number of sleep-related infant deaths in Escambia County last year was alarming.

In 2016, the Florida Department of Health Child Abuse Death Review Committee counted six sleep-related infant deaths. The Department of Children and Families Child Prevention Fatality website reports four sleep-related deaths.

However, that number doubles when including deaths where the cause is unknown but the circumstances included an unsafe sleep environment.