(WHTM) — “Co-sleeping,” when parents let their infant children sleep in bed with them, may be tempting for new parents as they care for their newborns. But a local police department has an urgent and timely warning they want to share with the community.
“Well, in the past several months, our department has investigated two incidents where a child passed away under parental custody where the child was rolled over during a sleeping environment at home. And the child did not make a child did not survive,” said Swatara Township Police Director of Public Safety Darrell Reider.
In his career, Reider has seen fatal co-sleeping cases multiple times and says even one infant death is one too many.
“I know that the hospitals do a good job trying to educate before someone brings a child home. In light of us just having these two recent incidents, I felt it was important to get it out again,” Reider said.
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Amber Lecadre, the maternity project coordinator at UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital in central Pennsylvania, shares Reider’s concern about co-sleeping.
“So I believe that the big piece of that is making sure that this education is being reviewed throughout the prenatal period so that patients, families, caregivers. Because it’s not always the patient that’s taking care of the baby,” Lecadre said.
She says it’s important to follow the “ABCDs” of safe sleeping.
A is for alone, but nearby.
“So up to a year, we do not recommend any co-sleeping at all. It’s really important to make sure that babies are always sleeping alone in their own space,” Lecadre said.
B is for back. No belly sleeping.
“Because that’s an added risk for SIDS,” Lecadre added.
C is for a clear crib. Just the mattress, nothing else.
“So whether that’s stuffed animals, toys, pacifiers, blankets out. Everything should be removed,” she said.
Finally, D is for danger.
“Alcohol, drugs, things like that. That puts you at a higher risk for falling asleep with your baby. We want to ensure that we don’t put the baby in that situation,” Lecadre said.
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“It’s heartbreaking. What more punishment could you receive than losing your child? It’s it’s devastating. We have a responsibility to speak for the children. And so we want to get the information out there to try and avoid it happening again,” Reider added.
Reider says the District Attorney did not bring charges in those two cases, but Reider warns that in a case involving drug or alcohol intoxication – or any other type of neglect – parents or caregivers could face charges and potentially prison time.