Toddler's death highlights dangers of co-sleeping

A toddler dies of sudden childhood death syndrome after climbing under the sheets to snuggle up with her mother. Find out what happened and co-sleeping risks with tips for your baby to sleep safe.

There is no imagining the horror that Kirsty Burns-Hainesborough, 24, had to go through when she woke up and found her 15-month-old baby lifeless beside her.

Apparently, her toddler, Sienna-Louise Burns-Hainesborough, had climbed under the covers to snuggle up with her but died from sudden childhood death syndrome.

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A sleeping arrangement out of the norm

Kirsty had gotten her whole family to sleep downstairs as she was concerned about some ruckus on the street earlier that day. So this was not a normal sleeping arrangement for the family.

Sienna and her sister Lily were supposed to sleep with daddy Christopher Burns, 30, on the sofa while mummy slept on another sofa under a duvet.

According to reports, Detective Sergeant John Shepherd, said that baby Sienna had managed to get to the sofa that her mother was sleeping on. As confirmed by Paul Kelly, Grimsby and North Lincolnshire coroner: “She made her own way to the sofa on which her mother was sleeping and burrowed her way under the bedclothes.” It was concluded that “accidental co-sleeping” was a contributing factor to baby Sienna’s death.

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Co sleeping risks

The adult bed has some hazards that you may not be aware of:

  • If the parent is not careful when co-sleeping, they may roll over and crush or unwittingly suffocate the baby. 
  • Your baby could get trapped between the headboard, mattress, wall or any other foreign objects. Your baby could suffocate by laying face-down on the bed, duvet cover, blankets, sheets, quilts, pillows and bolsters. 
  • Your baby could be at risk of strangulation if you have a gap in the bed frame and the mattress as your baby’s head could be trapped. 

Eliminate all co-sleeping risks!

If you and your spouse have decided to co-sleep with your child, then it is crucial that you make the environment as safe as possible and do away with all co-sleeping risks.

1. Reduce the risk of SIDS and place your baby on his back at all times.

2. Leave your child’s head uncovered at all times while sleeping.

3. Ensure that your bed’s footboard and headboard has no gaps, openings or slots that could potentially trap baby’s head or body.

4. Never ever let your baby sleep on the grown-up bed alone.

5. The mattress should fit in the bed frame snugly—so once again the baby won’t get trapped or crushed.

6. If possible, the bed should not have potentially dangerous plush pillows, blankets, duvets, quilts and other items that may suffocate the baby.

7. Stay away from drugs and alcohol that may make you unwary of the environment –thus if you roll on top your baby you’d wake up. 8. Make sure your bed is not close to curtains, blinds and dangling cords that could potentially strangle your baby.

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This video tells us that exhausted parents are like drunk parents, see why sleeping with your baby next to you in bed is not the best idea.

We hope that you have a better understanding of co-sleeping risks to better protect your child.