Darcie-Rose Souster was the little light of her parents’ life, but the little girl tragically died at the age of just 11 weeks when her father awoke to find her unresponsive in his own bed. The 42-year-old Englishman had fallen asleep with her in the crook of his arm, and it was the last time he’d see her alive.
Now, he is teaming up with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to spread the word about the dangers of “co-sleeping”. It is far from uncommon for parents to share a bed with young children. However, doctors warn that this is a dangerous practice when it comes to infants. Babies are extremely fragile, and it is very easy for a tiny baby to suffocate while sleeping next to a parent. While parents have good motivations for wanting to keep their child close, the risks of co-sleeping are alarmingly high.
In fact, about half of infant deaths can be attributed to their sleeping in unsafe environments. While the most prevalent problem is parents taking their babies to bed with them, there are comparable issues that they should also make sure to avoid. Babies should not sleep with other children, either. In fact, this is even more dangerous because the young children have less control over their movements, as well as little understanding of how their actions could pose a danger to a baby’s health. Other dangers include blankets and pillows, both of which can restrict airflow, or a couch, chair or other furniture that is easier to fall out of than a bed. The danger is most acute for children under three months old, but parents are warned to be vigilant with older babies and toddlers as well.
Experts suggest that parents who want to keep their youngsters as close as possible should share a room but not a bed – parents can sleep in their bed, and the baby can sleep in a crib nearby. Babies always seem to be finding new and wilder ways of getting themselves killed … they are really bad at survival. So as far as child safty goes, knowledge is power! And now you know: there are high levels of risk associated with sleeping in the same bed as your baby.