Baby dies of cardiac arrest after mom leaves him under heavy blankets for 12 hours while she smoked cannabis
Cannabis 'impaired' the mother's ability to look after her baby while in an 'unsafe' sleeping environment. according to a report on the incident
After being left strapped to a pram for over 12 hours under heavy blankets, a three-month-old baby died while his mother smoked cannabis.
The infant was covered in thick blankets after being placed in the buggy as he went to sleep at his residence in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, Daily Mail reports. At about 11 am the following morning, the baby was found unresponsive with a blanket over his head. He was rushed to the hospital but died a short time later due to cardiac arrest. A probe into the incident later revealed that the boy's mother had taken drugs as he slept. She went to a local garage between 1 am and 2 am leaving the boy alone inside the house.
A criminal investigation into the tragic incident, which occurred in September 2017, is underway. The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has two other children aged seven and four from a previous relationship.
She told a midwife at Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust about her drug habits, saying she took cocaine and cannabis during her pregnancy with the boy. However, no action was taken by the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board after she told social workers she was no longer using the drugs post delivery. Nonetheless, the review asserted that, when the mother made the confession, a specialist midwife should have been appointed. However, the information was ignored.
The report stated: "The substance misuse by [the mother] contributed to her impaired ability to provide safe care for Child E who was left for twelve hours without checking in an unsafe sleeping environment. The presence of a specialist midwife for substance misuse would have continually re-enforced the messages [she] required and may have eroded her conscious and subconscious attitude to the use of drugs alongside the care of children."
The report suggested that the number of young parents smoking cannabis during pregnancy or even while raising young children was rising every day.
It added: "[The mother] reported her drug of choice to be cannabis and cocaine less frequently. It is true that many parents' use of drugs does not present a risk of harm to their children. It is also true that many parents who use drugs have chaotic and unpredictable lifestyles that do impact on their ability to maintain stability and safe parenting of their children.
"For child care professionals, the most common drug use leading to problematic parenting is cannabis and cocaine, and less common is heroin. The use of cannabis has become an increasingly common factor when working with families in early help and higher thresholds of need, to the extent that professionals need to mitigate against becoming desensitized to the fact that it remains an illegal drug, and one which when used even intermittently can have highly detrimental consequences for family life."
The Independent Chair of the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Board, Jane Booth, said: "The Serious Case Review we have published clearly demonstrates the value of safer sleeping advice provided to parents. The learning from this review will be important to all agencies and will result in changes to procedures in line with the recommendations."