Each year hundreds of infants die across the country from what could be preventable deaths due to unsafe sleeping conditions.
That's something Southwest Louisiana is trying change.
Our five parish region has one of the highest rates of sudden unexpected infant deaths in the country and with new training for first responders Southwest Louisiana hopes to drastically improve that situation through what's called the D.O.S.E (Direct On-Scene Education) program.
"The D.O.S.E program is where we train first responders. EMT, paramedics, firefighters, and police officers to actively when they're on site or on scene or an emergency call to look for safe sleep hazards that are in a home with small children, less than one years of age." Explains D.O.S.E creator Lt. James Carroll of the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Department.
Lt. Carroll is in Southwest Louisiana to help first responders recognize potentially unsafe sleeping conditions for infants.
"We teach them what to look for which is cluttered cribs with pillows and blankets and bumpers inside of a crib or where there's an infant where there is no crib." Says Carroll.
The training that Southwest Louisiana's emergency personnel receive could prove to be crucial as 83 infant deaths is linked to unsafe sleeping conditions in the five parish region from January 2004 to December 2013 according to the Calcasieu Coroner's Office.
So the D.O.S.E program seems to be a perfect fit to teach Southwest Louisiana's first responders and Fire Chief Keith Murray of the Lake Charles Fire Department agrees.
"We're always looking for new and creative ways to serve our community. This is just an unexpected opportunity that we think that is a great way to truly serve in an abnormal. It's really outside of what (the) fire (department) normally does, but it just feels right."
But it wasn't just safety personnel that came out to learn.
Even a few concerned parents like Christina Fautherree wanted to know more about how to keep their children safe.
"We're here so I can get more education on safety for sleeping for my baby and stuff like that."
For those that receive help from the newly trained personnel they'll get a safety sleeping kit to better help educate parents on safe sleeping habits which will hopefully make Southwest Louisiana a safer place.
For more information about Safe Sleeping habits you can visit:
Or locally you can contact Nancy Roach of the Region 5 of Public Health office at (337) 475-3224