Special Efforts Being Made in New Jersey to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

December 26, 2017- Infant bed-sharing deaths in N.J. are at a record high. Now lawmakers may take action. A key state Senate committee will hold hearings in early 2018 to explore preventable causes of infant deaths, in part a response to an NJ Advance Media investigation into deaths that occur when parents share their beds with infants. The announcement by the state Senate Health Committee Chairman Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, comes as latest statistics show 41 infants suffocated while sharing a bed in 2015 -- the largest percentage of bed-sharing deaths reported in the state a single year. [Recommendation 5.2b]

New Jersey has partnered with The Baby Box Company, a company that works to improve new parent education, encourage newborn health awareness and reduce Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome. The program will distribute baby boxes filled with diapers and other newborn necessities to all new parents in New Jersey who complete a free online parenting education course. The course curriculum includes information on breastfeeding, prenatal health and safe sleep practices. [Recommendation 7.1c]