Kentucky plans to launch an education and awareness campaign Oct. 1 to remind the public of the basics of safe sleep for infants, as reported by The Courier-Journal.

The campaign also will stress the risks of co-sleeping — an adult sleeping with the infant in the same bed or on a couch or recliner, a factor in about half of such deaths.

“People in general have no idea how many babies die from sleep-related deaths,”  said Dr. Melissa Currie, a forensic pediatrician with the University of Louisville and member of a panel of experts created in 2012 to review child deaths involving abuse or neglect in Kentucky.

Some infants suffer unexplained sleep deaths where they appear to have simply stopped breathing. But infants also die from suffocation after a sleeping adult rolls on them or in situations in which an infant’s head gets wedged behind a couch cushion or under a pillow or blanket.

Breastfeeding an infant in bed can be hazardous because an exhausted mother may fall asleep and suffocate the baby, say experts on infant safety.

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