The Baby Safe Sleep Coalition says about 10 babies a year die in Monroe County because of unsafe sleep conditions, but the Rochester Police Department wanted to sound the alarm this week, because the numbers are up and it's only a few months into the year.
Linda Price and her husband always had their son Rashod sleep in their bed. He was only six weeks old when the unthinkable happened.
"My husband was holding the baby and he was crying," Price said. "I could see from right where I was in the doorway that the baby was blue."
This happened more than 30 years ago. Back then, she said the medical examiner told her the baby died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She now believes Rashod suffocated.
"It never goes away. The loss of the child is there probably until the day I die. I want to be sure to help someone else with my story to not put your baby to bed with you."
Rochester Police Chief Jim Sheppard said four babies in Rochester died from unsafe sleeping situations in the month of March alone. The babies woke up in the middle of the night, the caregivers brought the infants into bed or on the couch with them, and babies were found unresponsive in the morning. Most times, the caregivers rolled on top of them.
"I hope when they hear our voice, they listen; particularly in these types of issues where death is the result and it can be prevented," Sheppard said.
Sue Van Strydonck with the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition says an average of 10 babies a year in Monroe County die from unsafe sleeping conditions. She said it can happen to any parent, anywhere, when babies are not sleeping on their backs in their own cribs. Van Strydonck said babies can also suffocate on bumpers, pillows, blankets or toys that are placed in their cribs.
"A parent, especially a new parent, is exhausted," she explained. "They fall asleep, they roll over on the baby. The result is fatal. It's a tragedy. The only thing more tragic than a baby dying is a baby dying a death that could've been prevented."
Van Strydonck and her coalition know they not only have to educate new mothers, but their mothers too. She says times have changed and people now know that there are better ways to keep our babies safe.
"Once upon a time, we didn't understand what the risks were of bringing babies into bed with us. We thought it was a natural thing, that it was good, it was nurturing, it helped with the bonding, but now that we know better, we know these aren't SIDS deaths."
Price said she now knows better too, and said she's talking about it to people whether they ask for advice or not.
"If it can help to save a life I think I need to share my story. Had someone shared that with me, maybe I would've done something differently."