Rowan Leach, 20, was told at the inquest of her son’s death that they were unable to find a “definitive cause of death”, but saw no suspicious circumstances.
Leach told of how she had brought her son into bed with her at 3am to be fed, and fell asleep. When she woke up at 8am, he was not breathing. She tried to revive him, later along with the paramedics, but they were unsuccessful.
The coroner told Leach he found no criticism of her as a mother, and expressed sympathy at the fact she was caring for her child as a single parent.
“Although there was no conclusive evidence to suggest bed sharing impacted on this tragic event, I am hoping more can be done in future to raise awareness of the risks of bed sharing to prevent any more parents suffering as I have,” Leach said, according to the Telegraph. “The loss of my precious son Hadley has left me deeply heartbroken.”
In January 2018, figures revealed 665 babies’ deaths in the past five years have been linked to sleeping in the same bed as a parent. The figures, obtained by the Mirror, found there were 141 deaths linked to co-sleeping in 2017, 131 in 2016, 121 in 2015, 141 in 2014 and 131 in 2013.
According to the NCT, although most parents don’t plan to sleep with their baby, around half of all mums in the UK do so at some time in the first few months after birth.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated its recommendations about co-sleeping in December 2014 and confirmed that although sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is rare, it does happen more often when parents or carers sleep with a baby (on a bed, sofa or chair).
The charity The Lullaby Trust and the NHS agree that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own cot or Moses basket in their parents’ bedroom until they are at least six months old. However, the charity states it does not tell parents to never bed share and if it is something parents choose to do, they need to be made aware of how to minimise the risks.
Issuing guidance on safer sleep for babies, The Lullaby Trust said parents should never co-sleep with their baby in bed if:
Either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
Either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including medications that may make you drowsy)
You are extremely tired
Your baby was born premature (37 weeks or less) or was of low birth weight (2.5kg or 51/2lbs or less).
For more information, visit lullabytrust.org.