ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — State officials say infant deaths in child care settings dropped significantly in 2013.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services says three babies died in licensed day care last year, the lowest number in 11 years.

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“It is heartbreaking when a child dies,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “Although these results show continuing progress, we want to do everything we can to make sure children are safe.”

Agency officials say efforts over the past two years to promote safe sleeping practices among child care providers, changes to enforcement of licensing rules and some modifications to some licensing standards helped reduce infant deaths to nine in 2012 and three in 2013.

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DHS says temporary immediate suspensions issued by the department also declined.

The suspensions require a license holder to immediately stop operating because of a serious violation or imminent danger to children in family child care settings.

The number declined from 119 in 2012 to 88 last year.

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