Illinois child deaths skyrocket in 2012

By Beau Ebenezer

January 10, 2013 Updated Jan 11, 2013 at 12:09 AM CDT

PEORIA Ill -- 90 child deaths were caused by neglect or abuse last year, with 60 more still under investigation.

69% of victims were under the age of one.

The leading cause of death was suffocation due to unsafe sleeping conditions.

"With nursing it might be feasible to have them closer to you with nursing because they are right there and accessible because you are up every two or four hours. Best practice states a safe, simple sleep environment and that's the message we are trying to get across," said Infant-Toddler Specialist, Brooke Schmidgall.

40 deaths occurred when parents slept with an infant in their bed, and then rolled over on the child, smothering him or her.

Childcare Connection in Peoria is working with the Safe, Simple Sleep Campaign to avoid some of these dangerous sleeping risks.

"Following those safety crib standards, no moving parts, no more drop down side cribs. And by simple, we're saying a simple sleep space. No bumper pads, no toys, no blankets, nothing in the crib but the baby and a sleep sack," said Schmidgall.

The second leading cause of death was homicide resulting from abuse and injury.

The Department of Children and Family Services officials said many times family members see signs of abuse, but never report it to authorities.

The agency is urging anyone who suspects a child is in danger to call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE.

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