DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — An educational campaign is underway in Montgomery County after a shocking increase in infant deaths as a result of unsafe sleep habits, according to Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck, Jr.

A study by the National Center for Fatality Review looked at more than 26,000 cases involving the death of an infant less than 12 months of age. They found that more than half of the deaths did not occur in a crib, but in an adult bed.

In 2021, 10 infants died in Montgomery County of asphyxiation. Many of these deaths occurred in a parent’s bed, or as a result of pillows, blankets and toys.

This year’s data is beginning to show a similar pattern, according to Prosecutor Heck.

“There are too many babies dying needlessly in our community because parents are not aware of the best practices for safe sleep,” Prosecutor Heck said. “Some of the recommendations from years ago are no longer considered correct or safe. I want to educate the community on the best way to put babies to sleep safely.”

To help raise awareness of this issue, Prosecutor Heck and Key-Ads of Dayton are launching a billboard campaign focused on educating the public about the ABC’s of Safe Sleep – Alone on their Back in an empty Crib.

The billboards are scheduled to go up throughout the month of April.