BAKERSFIELD, CA - It happens multiple times each year in Kern County, babies dying because of how they are put to sleep.
The Coroner's office says Mason Ray Cook, age one month and 18 days, died at his home in December on Lacey Street due to sudden unexplained infant death, with bed sharing being a factor.
Since 2006, the Kern County Network for Children says an average of ten children die in the county each year in an unsafe sleeping environment.
"When it's time for bed, that infant needs to be laid down and you're tired and you're ready to go to bed, the safest place is a crib," said Tom Corson, Kern County Network for Children.
Health officials warn parents not to sleep with their infants. They say, in many cases, it ends in tragedy.
"The safest place for an infant to sleep is in a crib without teddy bears and pillows and sleeping on their back," said Corson. "That is the safest place for a child to be."
According to cases reviewed by the child death review team, from 2006 to 2010, unsafe sleeping among infants topped the list of child deaths.
That list also included pneumonia, homicide from child abuse, congenital anomalies and major vehicle accidents.
"The other thing that we know is a causing factor in some of these cases are substance abuse and alcohol abuse," said Corson. "If a parent is intoxicated and sleeping with a child and rolls over -- doesn't realize their sleeping on that infant, it can lead to a tragedy."
Just before 4 a.m. Thursday, Sheriff's deputies were called to a home in Oildale for a child not breathing. Chloe Marie Webb was taken to Memorial hospital where she died.
Ray Pruitt with the Kern County Sheriff's Department says the infant's death may be due to unsafe sleeping.
But, health officials say there are ways to reduce the number of infant deaths.
"If a child turns over on its stomach, there happens to be a pillow or a teddy bear or something fluffy, the child can suffocate," added Corson. "So, we have to realize the child doesn't have the ability to move the same way we do, so creating that extra padding, throwing those extra things in there, become a hazard for the child."
For more information on a safe sleeping environment for infants, visit www.KernCares.org