Mother warns parents of the risks of co-sleeping with infants after she woke up to find her own baby dead beside her
Rowan Leach cherishes the six weeks she spent with little Hadley before he died. Now, she wants other parents to be aware of the dangers of co-sleeping with their young children.
After the tragic death of her six-week-old son, a heartbroken mother has warned of the dreadful consequences of sleeping next to infants. Rowan Leach of Southampton, Hants, woke up to find her "beautiful baby boy" Hadley unconscious and face down beside her after she accidentally fell asleep while feeding him.
Hadley was apparently not breathing when his mother woke at around 8 am in the morning of September 10 last year, the Winchester Coroner's Court heard. Somehow taking hold of her emotions, the 20-year-old mother rang 999 before performing CPR on little Hadley. Paramedics responded to the call soon after and rushed the six-week-old infant to the hospital. But despite their best efforts, Hadley was pronounced dead shortly after doctors were unable to revive him, reports Mirror.
At around 3 am that night, Leach brought Hadley into her bed from his crib for a feed. However, she felt dizzy a short while after and fell asleep. At the time, Hadley was resting on his back on Leach's pillow as he was being fed. But to the mother's horror, she woke up to find her baby lying on his front.
While it is yet to be understood exactly how little Hadley died, Senior coroner Grahame Short did not blame the mother. Also, no suspicious circumstances were discovered by Detective Sergeant Matt Parker, who was tasked with investigating the death. Even Pathologist Dr. Sam Holden was unable to establish a definitive cause of death, according to an inquest. She was unable to determine if the infant had already rolled onto his front when he stopped breathing or he was still on his back.
Senior coroner Grahame Short said as he recorded an open verdict: "I have considerable sympathy for a mother caring for a baby in these circumstances, particularly when they don't have a partner to help. I find there is no criticism of you as a mother," he told Leach, who was raising Hadley with the help of her mother.
Following the inquest, Leach, a devastated mother said: "Although there was no conclusive evidence to suggest bed-sharing impacted on this tragic event, I am hoping more can be done in future to raise awareness of the risks of bed-sharing to prevent any more parents suffering as I have. The loss of my precious son Hadley has left me deeply heartbroken. I was hoping this inquest would provide me with some answers surrounding his tragic death. Unfortunately, no conclusion could be reached. However, we do know that it was not accidental and could not have been prevented. My baby boy's life was short but beautiful, all he ever knew was love. We miss and love him more than I can possibly explain."
According to the Department for Education data, over the past five years, an average of 133 babies have died each year with co-sleeping as a factor leading to their untimely deaths.
Last year, the total death toll reached 141.