9-month-old baby girl suffocates to death after fall from bed
Why the safest place for your baby to sleep is still in a crib
Despite the drive for awareness on safe sleeping practices for infants, there are parents who still let their little ones sleep on an adult bed.
A recent emergency call made by a 31-year-old father told police that his daughter had accidentally fallen from the bed at their flat in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong.
The 9-month-old baby girl had been left on an adult bed to sleep. Only the baby girl’s father, grandfather and a domestic help were at home at that time.
As is turns out, the baby girl might have tumbled from the bed and landed face down on the mattress below that was meant to protect her. Police think she might have suffocated after she failed to roll over.
When help arrived, the baby girl was already unconscious. She was certified dead on arrival at Tuen Mun Hospital.
Despite no signs of wrongdoing, police confirmed that a postmortem examination would still be done. The city’s Department of Health later released a statement on their website to remind all parents about safe sleeping practices for infants. It reads:
“Never leave a baby (of any age) alone on a diaper changing mat, table, an adult bed or a sofa.”
“If you are not free to look after your baby, place him/her in the baby cot or playpen.”
Safe Sleeping Practices for Infants
For the first year, the safest place to sleep is in the child’s own crib, on his or her back. Even if they roll about, they won’t fall off the bed.
- Infants should sleep on a firm, flat surface. No pillows, air mattresses, waterbeds, cushions, soft materials or anything with loose bedding.
- Car seats and infant carriers should not replace the crib for your baby’s sleep.
There is no need to force your baby onto his or her back if your baby can already turn over on his own. Tools like foam wedges or towel rolls and bolster pillows that help keep babies on their side should NOT be used.
- Dress your baby in a full onesie so that you can skip the blanket.
- Don’t place a baby to sleep alone in an adult bed, couch, sofa or armchair. This increases the risk of suffocation and falling.
- Do not leave a bottle of milk or juice in your baby’s bed.
- Ensure that your bed’s headboard and footboard do not have openings or cutouts that could trap your baby’s head.
- Your mattress should fit snugly in the bed frame to reduce the chance of your baby becoming trapped between the frame and the mattress.
- It is not safe to cover your child’s head when they are sleeping, even if it is bright.
- Do not place your baby’s crib near draperies or blinds where your child could get caught in and strangled by cords.
Safe Sleeping Practices for Infants – What to Do When They Fall
If your baby accidentally rolls off the bed, shows visible signs of bleeding or unconsciousness, call for help immediately. Likewise, if you are sure that your baby fell head first onto a hard floor, take your baby straight to Emergency.
Even if your baby falls onto a carpeted surface, do look out for signs of head or body injury and contact your doctor if your baby shows any of these warning signs:
- being inconsolable
- bulging of the soft spot in the front of the head
- continually rubbing the head
- excessively sleepy
- has bloody or yellow fluid coming from the nose or ears
- high-pitched cry
- loss of balance
- poor coordination
- pupils that aren’t the same size
- sensitivity to light or noise
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