Warning to mums and dads after 11-week-old Wellingborough girl suffocates in parents’ bed

Northampton General Hospital, where the inquest took place
Northampton General Hospital, where the inquest took place

The senior county coroner has warned parents never to take their baby into their bed after a two-month-old girl accidentally suffocated.

The Wellingborough parents regularly took the girl to sleep with them – rather than in her moses basket – if she could not settle.

An inquest at Northampton General Hospital today heard that, after going to bed on January 21 this year, the dad let her sleep on his arm following a night feed.

When he awoke at 5am because his arm was numb, he found his daughter had stopped breathing.

In a statement read out by senior coroner for Northamptonshire Anne Pember, he said: “Her head was floppy.

“I shouted: ‘Darling! Darling! Something’s wrong, she’s not breathing.

“Then she dialled 999 and screamed down the phone: ‘Something’s wrong, she’s not breathing.’”

The mum and dad were instructed to give CPR until paramedics arrived and they took the girl to hospital.

However, she was pronounced dead on arrival at A&E.

Dr Roger Malcolmson told the inquest the baby girl was well cared-for and had no signs of injuries.

The mum queried whether her baby’s death could have been linked to an ongoing chest infection.

But Dr Malcolmson said signs in the lungs hinted at a lack of oxygen: “Given the head was on top of the father’s arm, with the neck flexed, the cause of death could be given as positional asphyxiation in the context of co-sleeping.”

And, giving her verdict, the coroner said: “Regrettably she was in an unsafe position in her parents’ bed.

“I accept the cause of death was positional asphyxiation in the context of co-sleeping.

“I do feel it is important to stress that the public should be aware that sleeping with a baby, particularly young children, is unsafe.”

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