A Cincinnati mother is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment after her second newborn died from co-sleeping in June, according to a WCPO report.
The mother, Brooke Hunter, was accused of the same crime a year ago with her firstborn but was warned about co-sleeping. After the second offense, Hamilton County Police released a warrant for Hunter’s arrest. Since this is her second offense, the infant’s death will be a homicide. Hunter could be facing between five to 11 years in prison.
Co-sleeping, also called bed-sharing, is a practice mainly common among Black families. It is when a parent sleeps in the same bed as their child for numerous reasons, including bonding, for the baby to feel the parent’s presence or nursing. And according to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than half of Black families in the US participate in co-sleeping.
Despite Hunter’s predicament, co-sleeping isn’t strictly frowned upon by health officials. However, they encourage parents to follow safe co-sleeping guidelines to ensure their infant’s safety. Note that adult beds weren’t designed for infants despite their comfort. An essential requirement would be to make sure the parent responsible for the child at the moment is aware that the infant is in bed with them to prevent rolling on top of the baby. And the infant should sleep on the side of the conscious parent.
It’s beneficial to ensure pillows, stuffed animals, and toys aren’t on the bed near the baby. Placing the baby on top of a pillow or other soft bedding item is forbidden. Mothers with long hairstyles should ensure the hair is tied up to ensure the baby doesn’t get entangled.
If a parent takes any medication that can impact their sleep should refrain from sleeping with their infant. Additionally, placing an infant with an older sibling is not ideal since they may lack the skills to care for the child if an emergency ensues.
Also, obese parents should not sleep in the same bed as their children because they may not feel their baby alongside them.