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Child Welfare

Safe Sleep

DCFS investigates an average of 19 cases each year where babies never see their first birthday because they suffocate while sleeping with a parent in a bed or on a couch.

In 2010, DCFS investigated a record number of 37 cases of child fatalities due to co-sleeping. The number of investigations in 2013 was above average at 20.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services urges you to sleep safe and sleep sound by following these guidelines:

  • Your baby sleeps safest in his or her own bed
    • Never sleep with your baby on a couch
    • Never in an arm chair or with a pillow
    • Never on a waterbed
    • Never sleep with a baby or toddler while under the influence of medication, alcohol or drugs

A safe alternative to co-sleeping is room-sharing, where a baby sleeps in his or her crib or bassinet near the parents’ bed allowing them to stay close during the night.

Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday.  In response to this national public health crisis, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) has launched text4baby, a free mobile information service that provides pregnant women and new moms with information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life. 

Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE in Spanish) receive free SMS text messages each week, timed to their due date or baby's date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep.  Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

For more information, please visit


Informational brochures