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Niagara County aims to prevent baby deaths from improper sleeping conditions

Niagara County officials announced a public education program Tuesday aimed at preventing deaths of infants, often from asphyxiation, blamed on improper sleeping arrangements. Nine of the 10 infant deaths in the county since 2013 were attributed to unsafe sleep.

As part of the "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" program, social services and health officials said babies should sleep alone on their backs in a properly designed crib, not in adult beds.

"Most of the children we've lost were before three months of age. Their lung functioning isn't fully developed," said Ann Marie Tucker, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara.

From 2014 to 2016, there were 221 baby deaths in New York blamed on unsafe sleep, said Dawn L. Scott of the state Office of Children and Family Services.

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