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Co-Sleeping and Its Risks to Infants

Co-Sleeping, Baby

Medical professionals are making parents more aware of the things they can do that can kill a baby.

One of the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SUID) is co-sleeping with or in the same bed as a child.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 905 babies died in the United States in 2020 from “accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.”

About 3,400 infants (under the age of one) die unexpectedly.

“There is no immediately obvious cause,” the CDC says on its date and statistics website for SUID and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

Just this month, a Cincinnati mother named Brooke Hunter, 23, was charged with manslaughter and endangering a child after her second child died in a co-sleeping, the Hamilton County Attorney’s Office said.

“On 6/22/22, Hunter’s 6-week-old was killed as a result of co-sleeping,” Clausing said in an email to Fox News Digital. “Almost exactly one year prior, Hunter had a 6-week-old child who was also killed as a result of co-sleeping.” 

“At the time of the first incident, Hunter was advised of the dangers of co-sleeping,” Clausing continued. “Because of the prior incident, the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office ruled the second child’s death a homicide.” 

If convicted, Hunter faces up to 11 years in prison. A warrant for Hunter’s arrest remains pending, Clausing said. There are currently no court dates pending.

According to the CDC, the three infamous types of SUID are: sudden infant death syndrome, cause unknown, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.

“We are making every effort to help avoid this horrific situation,” stated the chief of pediatrics at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Steven Czinn, in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Czinn told Fox News Digital that he and his team have been asked to educate parents about the risks of co-sleeping and sleep safety before patients are discharged from the hospital after birth delivery.

“Everything we can do to raise awareness is important,” Czinn said. 

“These are the most tragic of situations, to have a family deal with the death of the child in the first year of life. We have to continue to educate, to raise awareness.” 

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Co-sleeping is Risky for Babies

In Layman’s terms, co-sleeping is when a parent or babysitter shares the same bed with the infant, according to Czinn. 

He has also said co-sleeping is identified as a dangerous action because infants primarily breathe through their noses. And as they are tiny, their body parts are too – those tiny noses can become blocked so quickly.

“That’s why we ask parents not to put [certain items] in cribs anymore – soft toys, pillows, blankets, bedding,” Czinn stated. “So if you’re co-sleeping and baby is right up against you, there is the potential that baby will be in the position where they’ll have trouble breathing through their nose.” 

Furthermore, babies don’t have the motor skills to roll from the stomach to vice versa (according to the CDC, this happens about six months after birth) – therefore, they’re incapable of changing positions and avoiding obstructions. 

“That unfortunately leads to these terrible, terrible tragic consequences,” Czinn stated.

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Photo: Healthy Think Tank

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