A US mum, who woke to find her five-month-old baby had died next to her, is making it her mission to warn parents about the risks associated with co-sleeping.
The mum, Angela, who hasn’t revealed her surname, awoke on May 16 to find her son Everett James wasn’t breathing. She and her partner called 911 but he couldn’t be revived.
In the wake of the tragedy, Angela is reaching out on social media to warn other parents about the dangers of co-sleeping – which it’s looking like Everett died from.
She posted a message on her Facebook page, describing the moment her partner, Ryan, arrived home and found Everett unresponsive beside his sleeping mum.
“We didn’t think an accident could ever happen to us, until the night Ryan came home to Everett and I sleeping together and Everett not breathing,” she wrote. “As soon as he woke me up, I immediately started CPR and we called 911. But it was too late. We had lost him.”
She urges other parents with infants not to bed-share. “So many things can happen accidentally and like I said, we never thought it would happen to us.
“Now I’ve lost the love of my life. My angel. My baby boy. As much as you love to snuggle and cuddle your little one, please resist the temptation to do so in bed.
“No matter how difficult it may seem at the time, put them to sleep in their own crib and avoid the greatest pain that one can experience in life – the pain that we are now experiencing. Your child’s life is too valuable.”
Angela and Ryan are using the hashtag #everettjamesawareness to spread their warning and it’s leading a number of social media users to share their viewpoint on bed-sharing.
Despite baby sleep safety charities, such as The Lullaby Trust, spreading awareness of the risks associated with co-sleeping, a great number of parents still do it.
“We understand that some parents choose to co-sleep with their babies,” says Jennifer Ward, The Lullaby Trust’s director of services. “But it is important for parents to know that there are some circumstances in which co-sleeping can greatly increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
“It is particularly risky if either parent smokes or has drunk alcohol or taken drugs. If the baby is of low birth weight or is premature, the risk of SIDS also increases. Co-sleeping on a sofa with a baby can also increase risk by up to 50 times.”
The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot or Moses basket in your room. [Rex]
Worringly, a recent survey conducted by The Lullaby Trust and Bounty Parenting Club revealed that over a third of new mums who co-sleep with babies under six months old do so on a sofa or arm chair.
“We advise that all new parents follow our safer sleep guidance and place their baby on their back, in a separate cot or Moses basket, in the same room as the parent, with loose, light-fitting bedding,” says Jennifer.
Charity campaigners have recently released new warnings about the dangers of bed-sharing after a three-week-old baby who was sleeping alongside his mum died in the UK.
Most health experts warn parents not to share a bed with their child, if he or she is under the age of one. Some 258 children die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) each year – and half of these deaths result from the baby sleeping in an unsafe place.