By Melissa Garcia

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – The international forensic community is calling on the Arapahoe County Coroner’s office to teach criminologists in Mexico about child death investigations.

Officials said the invitation for a child death investigator to speak at this year’s Latin American Forensic Investigations Conference is big honor for Arapahoe County.

The conference will be held Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 in Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Conference leaders chose Elizabeth Ortiz, a medicolegal death investigator, to teach her skills to criminologists who will be visiting from around the world.

elizabeth ortiz 2 Colorado Death Investigator To Teach Criminologists In Mexico

Elizabeth Ortiz (credit: CBS)

The topic of Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUID) is not easy, but the information gleaned from them is important.

Ortiz and her colleagues investigate child deaths in Arapahoe County every year.

“We have so much compassion for our families,” Ortiz told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “And we want to bring those answers to them.”

elizabeth ortiz 1 Colorado Death Investigator To Teach Criminologists In Mexico

CBS4’s Melissa Garcia interviews Ortiz. (credit: CBS)

She investigates as part of a team that works to bring answers to families who have lost a child in an accidental or natural death.

Ortiz is excited to share her skills with criminal investigators in Mexico.

“Hopefully that will give them the tools to do a better investigation and be able to provide answers for the family,” she said.

Among the most common accidental deaths in Arapahoe County are when caregivers leave children in car seats as well as co-sleeping.

She said that children should always be strapped in with child safety belts while in their car seats to prevent them from turning over and suffocating.

She also said that babies should be removed from their car seats and placed in their cribs to sleep, rather than being allowed to sleep in the car seat. Car seat sleeping can lead to the infant’s head bobbling down and over, constricting blood flow and air supply.

Ortiz said that babies should not sleep in bed with parents due to the risk of suffocation.

For further information on how to protect children from accidental deaths, contact Kate Jankovsky who works in Arapahoe County’s child fatality prevention at kate.jankovsky@state.co.us or 303-692-2947.

See Ortiz’s Facebook message about her trip below:

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

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