COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Richland County Cororner's office is warning parents of dangerous sleeping conditions for their infants.
"This year we've had seven infant deaths in Richland County," says Gary Watts, Richland Co. Coroner. "Four of those have been attributed to an unsafe sleep environment."
Watts wants to continue to educate parents about the risks.
"It's an absolutely totally preventable death and we believe that the educational process, just getting this information out can help."
Watts explained that infants should always sleep alone, on their back and in a clear environment.
Deputy Coroner Jane Powell says placing a baby in a crib without anything near them is the best option.
"You can even use a dresser drawer if you didn't have a crib if you felt better about having them in something, but we find families are putting them a bassinet with a lot of bedding and pillows, which is not safe for the infant," says Powell.
Parents are also warned not to sleep with their baby.
"It is extremely dangerous to co-sleep," says Powell. "Once your children get older, that's between you and your children, but when they're an infant and I say up to a year, they need to sleep alone in their crib, on their back."
The Richland County Coroner's office offers classes for new parents. Parents can register on their website here.
Prisma Health also provides information for parents on infant sleeping habits.
Click on their website here for more information.