Nearly a year after Stacey Costello woke to find her infant son unconscious in her bed, the heartbroken mother is speaking out about her agony in a bid to warn others about the dangers of co-sleeping.
“I can’t stress enough that parents should never co-sleep with their babies, no matter what the circumstances,” said Costello, who had taken baby Hugo to bed with her after a restless night, according to SWNS. “It’s not worth the pain and heartache we feel every day we have to live without our beautiful special son.”
Costello told investigators that Hugo, who had no underlying health issues, typically slept in a cot next to his parents’ bed, but last August he woke in the middle of the night for a feed so she propped him on top of a pillow between her and her partner, Matthew.
“I must’ve drifted off because when I woke up an hour or so later I saw the pillow was over Hugo,” she said in a statement read to investigators. “He was facing Matthew and he wasn’t responding.”
Hugo was rushed to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and placed on life support, but died on August 22. According to SWNS, he suffered a lack of oxygen and brain damage following cardiac arrest.
While the exact cause of his death was not determined, a pediatrician told investigators that there was evidence of “hypoxia and brain damage because of lack of oxygen and blood to the brain.”
“This kind of death has a lot in common with sudden unexpected deaths in infancy, which can be related to unsafe sleeping, such as co-sleeping with an adult, and we know Hugo was doing that at the time he died,” Melanie Newbould said, according to SWNS. “But co-sleeping is not necessarily the cause as we don’t have evidence of this. But it can increase the likelihood of sudden unexpected death in infancy.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants sleep in the same room as parents for at least six months but on a separate surface, such as a crib or bassinet, to decrease the risks of sleep-related deaths.
“Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person,” said Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, lead author of a 2016 report on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths. “We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous.”
The AAP recommends babies be placed on their back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet, avoiding the use of soft bedding including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys, sharing a bedroom with parents but not the same sleeping surface, and avoiding the baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs to reduce the risk of SIDS.
The AAP also recommends parents move the baby to his or her separate sleeping surface after a feeding. Newborns up to 4 months of age are most at risk of SIDS, but soft bedding remains a hazards for those 4 months and older, according to the AAP.
Recently, a number of infant sleepers were pulled from the market in the U.S. after reports of infant injury and death while using the products. However, a survey conducted by two public advocacy groups found that many daycare centers are still using the recalled products.
The non-profit organization Kids in Danger (KID) and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) contacted more than 600 childcare facilities between June 20 and July 10 of this year and found “one in 10 of the 376 survey respondents that have children under one indicated they were using at least one of these dangerous sleepers in the childcare facilities,” according to a copy of the findings obtained by Fox News