Infant death highlights dangers of co-sleeping

Published: Mar. 6, 2017 at 10:01 PM CST|Updated: Jun. 5, 2018 at 11:26 AM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - An infant was found unresponsive over the weekend in Hattiesburg. The child's father told police he found the baby in bed with its mother around 2 p.m.

Neighbors told WDAM 7 News the mother was sleeping with the child when the incident occurred.

"They was a wreck," said Courtney Davis, a neighbor. "Really nervous first of all, trying to figure out with the baby, if he was going to live or die."

The baby was transported to Forrest General Hospital where it was pronounced dead.  The Forrest County Coroner has not released a cause of death in the case.

Seven on Your Side wants to warn you of the dangers of co-sleeping and bed-sharing and to keep this heartbreaking situation from happening to another Pine Belt family.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports over 3,500 babies across the country die suddenly and unexpectedly every year while sleeping. According to the AAP, the deaths are often due to sudden infant death syndrome or accidental deaths from suffocation or strangulation. By definition, sudden infant death syndrome is a sudden or unexplained death in children 12 months or younger.

The AAP warns bed-sharing is the most common cause of death in babies younger than three months old.  While bed-sharing is not recommended for any baby, certain situations make bed-sharing even more dangerous.

It's recommended to not bed-share with your baby if:

  • Your baby is younger than four months old.
  • Your baby was born prematurely or with low birth weight.
  • You or any other person in the bed is a smoker (even if you do not smoke in bed).
  • The mother of the baby smoked during pregnancy.
  • You have taken any medicines or drugs that might make it harder for you to wake up.
  • You drank any alcohol.
  • You are not the baby's parent.
  • The surface is soft, such as a waterbed, old mattress, sofa, couch, or armchair.
  • There is soft bedding like pillows or blankets on the bed.

In a YouTube video by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP said many things parents do to keep their baby safe actually makes it more dangerous for their baby.

"The safest place for a baby to sleep is a crib, bassinet or play pen, something separate from where the parent is sleeping," Moon said. "The only thing that should be in the crib should be a tight-fitting mattress with a tight-fitting sheet and the baby, nothing else. No bumper pads, nothing, just the baby."

Doctors recommend following the "ABCs of Safe Sleep":

A - All babies need to be placed alone.

B - Babies need to be placed on their back.

C - Babies need to sleep in their crib, cradle or bassinet.

Other recommendations for infant sleep safety:

  • Babies should sleep on their backs for all sleep times, for naps and at night.
  • Use a firm sleep surface.
  • Keep baby's sleep area in the same room where you sleep for the first six months to a year.
  • Never place your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa or armchair.
  • Try giving a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.

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