Coroner warns mums and dads after Northamptonshire girl, aged 11 weeks, suffocated in parents’ bed

GV of Northampton General Hospital.
GV of Northampton General Hospital.

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

The Wellingborough parents, who the Chronicle & Echo has decided not to name, regularly took the girl to sleep with them - rather than her Moses basket - if she could not settle.

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

But he awoke at 5am because his arm was numb, to find that 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.’”

Mum and dad were instructed to give CPR until paramedics arrived and they took the girl, who was 11-weeks-old, to hospital.

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

Dr Roger Malcolmson told the inquest that 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.”