The Des Moines Register reports that in a short period of time, several babies have died from accidental suffocation possibly due to co-sleep in Des Moines.

In the past four days, three Des Moines babies have died from apparent accidental suffocation, after their parents rolled on them in their sleep or left a loose blanket in a crib, police say.

In all, four infants have died this year of accidental smothering: the first on April 20; then again Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In all of 2014, there were just two deaths from similar causes, police say.

Polk County Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Schmunk cautioned Wednesday that it would be premature to officially blame the deaths on smothering, since the cases have not been completed.

Why so many infants have died in such a short window of time isn’t clear, but it’s alarming to police and health care workers. They’re calling on parents to take precautions to prevent more tragic accidents, including not sleeping in the same bed infants.

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