Two recent tragic deaths involving children in Hillsborough County have prompted the sheriff to issue a warning to parents and guardians about the dangers of co-sleeping.
Co-sleeping is when parents sleep in the same bed as a baby. According to Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, it led to the deaths of two children in the area last month.
Eight children in Hillsborough County died from co-sleeping in 2018 and seven suffocated from unsafe sleeping environments, Sheriff Chronister said in a news release.
“Parents, I know you’re tired and it’s easier to let your baby sleep next to you in bed or on a couch, but it’s extremely dangerous,” Chronister said in a PSA. “Not only can you roll over on your child, but your baby can also get trapped between the mattress and the wall or suffocate from blankets, pillows and stuffed animals.”
Sheriff Chronister says the safest place for a baby to sleep at night is in their own crib or bassinet.
“Remember, a baby isn’t developed enough to let you know they’re in a bad spot, they can’t move or can’t breathe,” Chronister said.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3,500 babies in the United States die suddenly each year while sleeping. They say the deaths are often due to sudden infant death syndrome or accidental suffocation or strangulation.
The AAP says sharing a bed with your baby is not recommended for any babies but can be even more dangerous in some situations. If your baby is 4 months old or younger or was born prematurely or with low birth weight, sharing a bed could be more dangerous to them. It can also be more dangerous if anyone in the bed is a smoker, if the mother smoked during pregnancy, if you’ve had any alcohol or if you’ve taken any medicine or drugs that could make it harder to wake up.
Soft surfaces like waterbeds, old mattresses, sofas, couches or armchairs also make sharing a sleep space more dangerous. Soft bedding like pillows or blankets can also increase the risk.