DEVELOPING: Prosecutor to Investigate Rash of Baby Deaths in Essex County

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that they are urging parents to take proper precautions to protect children in the wake of three baby deaths over a 40-hour period last week.

Authorities said all three deaths await final autopsy results to determine the cause and manner of death, but given what they know right now, they urge parents to take simple steps to protect their children.

According to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, on Sat. Sept. 23rd, an 11-day-old baby died in East Orange.

Officials said, in this case, the babe was in bed with them when both parents fell asleep, and when they awoke, the baby was unconscious and unresponsive.

The baby was rushed to University Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officials said there are two other children in the family.

Officials said on the same day, Newark Police responded to a 911 call for an unresponsive female infant.

Upon their arrival, police said the mother was actively performing CPR on the baby. EMS transported the baby to Beth Israel Hospital where she was pronounced shortly after.

The preliminary investigation indicated indicates the mother put the baby on the futon after a feeding. When she woke up, the baby was on the futon with the older sibling, a two-year-old daughter.

It's unclear at this time when the two-year-old climbed onto the futon authorities said.

In the final case, officials said a 26-day-old baby died in Belleville. The death appears to be a medical condition.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the following necessary steps can make a big difference:

  1. Make sure the baby is sleeping on his or her back and sleeping alone.

  2. Keep blankets stuffed animals and other items away from the sleeping area.

  3. Bring the baby into your bedroom but not into your bed.

Officials said babies who sleep in the bed with the parents are at increased risk for SID and SUDs, strangulation or suffocation.

"The three cases do not appear criminal but are very troubling," Essex County authorities said.