United Kingdom

Baby suffocated sharing bed with parents who were ‘repeatedly’ warned of dangers

The High Court judge ruled the parents could not be identified in media reports (Picture: Getty Images)

A seven-week-old baby died after his mum and dad ‘inadvertently rolled on to him’ while they were sleeping together, a High Court judge heard.

Health workers were said to have ‘repeatedly’ warned the couple of the dangers of sharing beds with babies before the boy’s death in March 2019.

Evidence shows that the mother was ‘extremely tired’ and ‘under the influence of alcohol’ on the night while the father had taken cocaine.

Judge Mr Justice Keehan said the parents, who have three other children, lived in or near Birmingham but ruled they could not be identified in media reports of the case.

He concluded their baby had died because the couple, who have three other children, inadvertently tolled on to him in their sleep, or because he had been ‘confined in a micro-climate’ where the atmosphere was low in oxygen but high in carbon dioxide.

Mr Justice Keehan said the others three children aged between two and 11, had been temporarily placed with relatives pending investigations into the cause of their brother’s death.

The judge said they were not at risk and can return home, adding that social workers would provide support to their parents.

Council social services bosses with responsibility for the other children’s welfare had asked Mr Justice Keehan to make findings of fact about the baby’s death.

The judge said: ‘The mother accepted that she had been repeatedly told by health professionals of the risks and dangers of co-sleeping with babies and young children and of the clear advice not to do so.

‘However, the mother told me that co-sleeping with her children had worked for her and for the father; they had regularly pursued the practice with all of their children.

‘The death of (the baby) was entirely preventable and resulted from the parents’ very ill-advised practice of co-sleeping. I accept that the parents are stricken with guilt.’

The judge said the baby had not died as a result of any intentional act and that the risk of the couple’s three other children suffering harm in their care was, at worst, extremely low.

But he said the three children could suffer psychological harm if they remained separated from their parents.

Mr Justice Keehan said police had investigated but he gave no indication that anyone had been charged with any offence in relation to the baby’s death.

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