Sleeping with his infant in his arms the biggest mistake of his life

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“When I woke up I found my arm had gone numb. It was about 5am. I moved my arm and found Darcie-Rose had flopped back and she wasn't breathing.”

Darcie-Rose Souster was only 11 months old when she died in a heartbreaking accident that could have been prevented, and now doctors are using her incident to educate parents on this very common mistake.

According to a BBC report, she died at Northampton General Hospital. Her father, Justin Souster, claimed he awoke around in bed to find his daughter “floppy” and unresponsive.

“When I woke up I found my arm had gone numb,” he said. “It was about 5am. I moved my arm and found Darcie-Rose had flopped back and she wasn’t breathing.”

While the family waited for the ambulance to arrive, Darcie’s mother tried to resuscitate her daughter in vain. They rushed the infant to the hospital within ten minutes, but she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Sleeping with Baby in his Arms the Biggest Mistake of his Life

Photo credit: BBC News

Dr. Roger Malcomson, the pediatric pathologist who conducted Darcie’s post-mortem, found unmistakable signs of asphyxia, including blood in her lungs.

“Given the (baby’s) head was on top of the (father’s) arm, with the neck flexed in that position the cause of death could be given as positional asphyxiation in the context of co-sleeping [emphasis added]” he said in a Mirror report.

Meanwhile, the coroner had this to say:

“Regrettably she was in an unsafe position in her parents’ bed with another little child. I feel it is important to stress that the public should be aware that sleeping with a baby, particularly young children, is unsafe.”

Safe sleeping

A local police department released a “safe sleep” campaign. The video notes that over 50% of the 4,000 infant deaths each year are due to unsafe sleep environments. states that over the past 20 years in the United States, there has been a decrease in deaths classified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and an increase in deaths classified as accidental suffocation.

An alternative to sleeping with an infant offered by NICHHD is room sharing— keeping the baby’s sleep area separate from your sleep area in the same room where you sleep.

READ: Caring for newborn baby: Should your baby sleep with you?

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Written by

James Martinez