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Rockland County, NY - Report Shows Statistically High Number Of Infant Deaths In Orthodox Community Related To Unsafe Sleeping Positions

Published on: July 12, 2015 10:01 AM
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Rockland County, NY -  An unusually high number of Orthodox Jewish infants and toddlers are dying in sleep-related deaths in Rockland County and the Department of Social Services (DSS) says it is working within the insular community and among various sects to prevent future deaths.

Lohud.com writes (http://lohud.us/1D968r9) that since 2008, nine infants have died in incidents likely related to unsafe sleeping practices, and eight of those babies were Jewish, a total of 89%, even though Jews are just one-third of Rockland County’s population. But because religious Jews eschew autopsies, doctors cannot determine with certainty how or why the children are dying, and must rely on external exams only.

Medical examiner Dr. Jonathan Arden said he is sensitive to the religious objections of an autopsy, but that they are still helpful in determining the exact cause of death. “In some cases, if the evidence is strong enough, some medical examiners will then certify that death as an actual asphyxiation death, not unexplained infant death. The recognition of the inappropriate sleep conditions should derive from the investigation of the scene and circumstances.”

In the meantime, babies are regularly found dead in Rockland or elsewhere either in the prone position or with blankets and pillows in cribs. Rabbi Aron Reiner, executive director of the Ramapo-area Bikur Cholim says typically the local hospital, such as Good Samaritan in Suffern, instructs new mothers about how to safely position their babies for sleeping, but added, “If there is a need to do more, then we will definitely do that. There is no death that is OK. One death is too much.”

Rockland’s Department of Social Services says it is trying to coordinate with local rabbis and organize educational meetings with women’s groups in the Orthodox community, but records show DSS has a spotty history of investigating deaths of children.

In 2011, a 14-month old girl was found dead, but the caseworker assigned to investigate did not determine if the child had slept alone in her bed or if there were objects in the bed with her. Nor did the caseworker investigate why the child had not been checked on by her parents for 14 hours. Another case in 2013 revealed a 3-month old found dead face down in her bassinet. The mother said she knew about proper sleeping practices, but had followed her pediatrician’s advice to place the infant prone because the child had colic. The pediatrician refuted that assertion and no autopsy was performed.

A report issued by the Office of Children and Family Services, recommended that caseworkers needed additional training “regarding the unique needs of the insular religious community” and “specific behavioral protocols expected from visitors” while a family is sitting shiva. Workers are also being instructed to interview all witnesses at the scene of a child death.

Rabbi Moshe Tendler of the Community Synagogue of Monsey says county officials should distribute educational information in the community about proper sleeping positions. “Certainly, there should have been distribution of a circular or a poster to get that information over to the community. Every synagogue would be happy to post such a poster.”


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Read Comments (26)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 12, 2015 at 10:45 AM ownapt Says:

"a total of 89%, even though Jews are just one-third of Rockland County’s"
What's the ratio of jewish INFANTS vs non Jewish? Think it's more then 90% then it's in line with the statistics.
But a little education can't hurt anyone.

2

 Jul 12, 2015 at 10:54 AM MK Says:

This reports is false. It compares SID to Jewish households in Rocklnad and not to Jewish births in with is 4X more then non Jewish births. When comparing Jewish infants to non Jewish infants, Jewish SID is actually less then the general population.

3

 Jul 12, 2015 at 11:13 AM Monseyite Says:

Although one baby is one baby too many, but how do you get away with a ratio of infant to population ratio should have been infant to birth rate and the percentages would have been much lower and maybe even at national average or below

4

 Jul 12, 2015 at 11:38 AM Boro Park Woman Says:

I agree with Rabbi Moshe Tendler. His idea is genius, but fails to add the importance of having all babies in the community wear highly reflective tape on their little stretchies,little hats and little over coats so that when their parents wearing very dark clothing carry them or wheel them at night in a carriage, whether in Monsey, KJ or even Boro Park, that the cars could hopefully see those infants by their reflective gear and swerve away on time from hitting the neglectful parents. Thank you again Rabbi Moshe Tendler for your advice and outspoken concern for the safety of the community.

5

 Jul 12, 2015 at 12:10 PM curious Says:

Some babies will just not sleep on their backs. You can't go after every parent that doesn't follow the newest medical advice. Additionally, many doctors don't tell their patients the latest AMA consensus. They often speak their mind. Tragedies happen but 8 crib deaths of the many Jewish infants in Rockland County is not surprising. I think that at least 90% of the infants inRC are Jewish.

6

 Jul 12, 2015 at 12:54 PM Anonymous Says:

It's amazing to read these comments os DENIAL. Yidden refuse to accept any type of criticism, so if one baby can be saved with proper sleeping position, listen.

7

 Jul 12, 2015 at 01:07 PM Bubby Says:

I raised 6 kids & in MY day, we were told NOT to place babies to sleep on their backs, in case of vomiting. We new mommies put our babies in the crib either on their sides (with a rolled up blanket, towel, or cloth diaper (yes, we used those!) or on the stomachs, taking care to position the head so the nose was exposed and baby could breathe..

Now, suddenly, it has to be the back? Everything changes? And in the end, someone, somewhere will blame crib deaths R"L on the Jews. I bet it has already been said.

8

 Jul 12, 2015 at 01:12 PM eli845 Says:

There is a reason I don't trust those buricrats and their statistics...... Do the math......

9

 Jul 12, 2015 at 01:23 PM Rachel W. Says:

Hashem yishmor! Every neshama has a divinely assigned lifetime on earth.
We can only do our hishtadlus - care for our children to the best of our ability.
The rest is not in our hands.

10

 Jul 12, 2015 at 01:40 PM Anonymous Says:

With suspicious deaths, they should investigate. And they don't!

11

 Jul 12, 2015 at 01:44 PM Mazal1 Says:

Do the autopsy and get to the bottom of the problem and forget the mid evil mishagas

12

 Jul 12, 2015 at 02:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Boro Park Woman Says:

I agree with Rabbi Moshe Tendler. His idea is genius, but fails to add the importance of having all babies in the community wear highly reflective tape on their little stretchies,little hats and little over coats so that when their parents wearing very dark clothing carry them or wheel them at night in a carriage, whether in Monsey, KJ or even Boro Park, that the cars could hopefully see those infants by their reflective gear and swerve away on time from hitting the neglectful parents. Thank you again Rabbi Moshe Tendler for your advice and outspoken concern for the safety of the community.

Where was Rabbi Tendler with his suggestions all the past years?

13

 Jul 12, 2015 at 02:56 PM Michali Says:

I know I'll get a lot of negative comments after i post my comment, but here goes. There has been studies that link SIDS with vaccines. In 2014, there was a study published in the Current Medical and Chemistry journal that lends support to the linkage between infant vaccinations and SIDS. From the time an infant is 2 mos. to 4 mos. it is injected with 11 shots containing 16 vaccines. According to the CDC "this is the peak age for SIDS." It makes one wonder why is it that our country has one of the highest infant mortality rates compared to other wealthy countries.

14

 Jul 12, 2015 at 03:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Any correlation between their deaths and recent vaccines? Vaccines can cause death even 72 hours afterwards and if the doctor dismissed the fact that the mother put the child to sleep on his belly with his say so because of colic, he's part of the problem. Most babies can only digest their milk on their stomachs. Most babies are more likely to choke on their backs.

15

 Jul 12, 2015 at 05:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Michali Says:

I know I'll get a lot of negative comments after i post my comment, but here goes. There has been studies that link SIDS with vaccines. In 2014, there was a study published in the Current Medical and Chemistry journal that lends support to the linkage between infant vaccinations and SIDS. From the time an infant is 2 mos. to 4 mos. it is injected with 11 shots containing 16 vaccines. According to the CDC "this is the peak age for SIDS." It makes one wonder why is it that our country has one of the highest infant mortality rates compared to other wealthy countries.

Other countries vaccinate at the same rate. The reason why their infant mortality rate is lower is because they have universal health coverage, unlike the US.

16

 Jul 12, 2015 at 05:29 PM savtat Says:

I don't have any science to back me up, but perhaps babies could be given the vaccines in stages, one vaccine at a time. They put 3 or 4 vaccines in one shot, perhaps for some little ones, that is overwhelming their system. Deepest condolences to the families. Nebech.

17

 Jul 12, 2015 at 05:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

Any correlation between their deaths and recent vaccines? Vaccines can cause death even 72 hours afterwards and if the doctor dismissed the fact that the mother put the child to sleep on his belly with his say so because of colic, he's part of the problem. Most babies can only digest their milk on their stomachs. Most babies are more likely to choke on their backs.

You just posted a similar comment, you think VIN readers are stupid?

18

 Jul 12, 2015 at 05:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
curious Says:

Some babies will just not sleep on their backs. You can't go after every parent that doesn't follow the newest medical advice. Additionally, many doctors don't tell their patients the latest AMA consensus. They often speak their mind. Tragedies happen but 8 crib deaths of the many Jewish infants in Rockland County is not surprising. I think that at least 90% of the infants inRC are Jewish.

Newest medical advice??? What cave have you been living in? It's been common knowledge for many years that SIDS can be caused by babies sleeping on their stomachs!!

19

 Jul 12, 2015 at 06:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Bubby Says:

I raised 6 kids & in MY day, we were told NOT to place babies to sleep on their backs, in case of vomiting. We new mommies put our babies in the crib either on their sides (with a rolled up blanket, towel, or cloth diaper (yes, we used those!) or on the stomachs, taking care to position the head so the nose was exposed and baby could breathe..

Now, suddenly, it has to be the back? Everything changes? And in the end, someone, somewhere will blame crib deaths R"L on the Jews. I bet it has already been said.

Suddenly? Don't you keep up with the times ? It's long been known that sleeping on the back prevents SIDS.

20

 Jul 12, 2015 at 08:00 PM curious Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

Suddenly? Don't you keep up with the times ? It's long been known that sleeping on the back prevents SIDS.

The use of "suddenly" was referrring to the fact that these recommendations tend to go back and forth. Valid point!
I bet that in our lifetimes there will be different recommendations which hearken back to older ones regarding positions for sleeping babies.

21

 Jul 12, 2015 at 08:12 PM username Says:

I don't knowcwhy my comment wasn't posted, but if you google SIDS and inner ear damage, you can read about how they now suspect right ear hearing loss in newborns who have died of SIDS.

22

 Jul 12, 2015 at 08:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Its impossible that any new parent in today's world would not know the basics of NOT allowing a baby to sleep on their stomachs and doing so substantially increases the risk of SIDS. If that is shown to be the cause of death than the parents are guilty of child abuse just as if they left a baby alone in a bathtub or near an open window. Its time to prosecute parents for such gross negligence that results in the death of precious life.

23

 Jul 12, 2015 at 11:09 PM Anonymous Says:

The reason the back is safer is because then babies don't sleep as deep, so they don't forget to breathe. (I'm not making this up, it's in the hospital safe sleep video.)
After me as the mother being so sleep deprived from my baby's short bursts of sleep and therefore falling asleep during nursing I caved and started putting her on her stomach. I figured for me that was the safer option, and I'm probably not alone. B"H my child is fine.

24

 Jul 13, 2015 at 01:45 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
Anonymous Says:

The reason the back is safer is because then babies don't sleep as deep, so they don't forget to breathe. (I'm not making this up, it's in the hospital safe sleep video.)
After me as the mother being so sleep deprived from my baby's short bursts of sleep and therefore falling asleep during nursing I caved and started putting her on her stomach. I figured for me that was the safer option, and I'm probably not alone. B"H my child is fine.

And if CV your child wasn't?

BACK is best!!!

25

 Jul 13, 2015 at 11:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
Anonymous Says:

And if CV your child wasn't?

BACK is best!!!

Are you a woman? I don't think so. If you wish to volunteer and take over night time feeding duties for sleep deprived mothers, you can talk. Many babies refuse to sleep for more than an hour or so on their backs. A severely sleep deprived mother is similar in capacity to one on drugs and can literally be a danger to her child through unintended negligence. Back is best, but you can't ignore all other factors.

26

 Jul 13, 2015 at 12:28 PM benalt Says:

It's important to ignore up to date research and do what you want because in the future the research may indicate something else so it makes perfect sense to ignore everyone and just do whatever you think is best. There's logic for you!

27

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