The deaths of three babies in Logan this year have been linked to co-sleeping.
The deaths of three babies in Logan this year have been linked to co-sleeping.

Baby deaths spark co-sleeping warning

THE tragic deaths of three babies has prompted a Queensland policeman to issue a warning to parents about the dangers of co-sleeping.

Since January, senior sergeant Grant Ralston has been called to three homes in Logan where babies' deaths have been linked to co-sleeping.

"When we've investigated the deaths as Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants, it's been a scenario where the child's been asleep in the common or main bed," the Logan Child Protection and Investigation Unit officer said.

"There's no law out there, there's nothing in legislation to say you can't sleep with your infant. But we just want parents to be aware that there are some dangers."

 

Dylan Nicholls with his mum Jennifer Yardley.
Dylan Nicholls with his mum Jennifer Yardley.

Logan mother Jennifer Yardley knows first hand the pain of losing a child this way.

Her 15-week-old boy Dylan Nicholls tragically died next to her on August 10, 2013 after they fell asleep together in her bed.

"We had coslept since birth … he wasn't rolling yet so I wasn't worried about him falling off," she said.

"I sat up and turned towards him and my whole world came crashing down around me. All I could see was his beautiful brown hair, he was face down."

Ms Yardley said since Dylan's death she has been actively fundraising and raising awareness about the importance of safe sleeping.

While she said she doesn't feel it is "inherently dangerous" she said it can be risky.

"I don't recommend it," she said.

A 2013 study by the QLD Family and Child Commission showed that more than 50 per cent of 37 infants that died from SUDI were sharing a sleep surface at time of death.

 

Logan Hospital's nurse unit manager Margaret Wendt and midwife Christopher Geeman.
Logan Hospital's nurse unit manager Margaret Wendt and midwife Christopher Geeman.

Nurse unit manager of maternity Margaret Wendt said all of Logan Hospital's midwives warn mothers about the dangers of co-sleeping with their baby.

"QLD Health recommends that mothers do not bed share with their babies. This is because of the increased risk of SUDI," she said.

"The biggest message with all of this is really not bed sharing if you smoke, if you drink alcohol or use drugs because those exponentially increase the risk to those babies."

She said while some people believe sharing a bed with their baby can increase breast feeding rates, she said "there is no evidence to suggest that".

"Exclusive breast feeding rates certainly can still be met by having babies in their own safe sleeping space," she said.

 

The Pepi-Pods ensure babies can’t roll.
The Pepi-Pods ensure babies can’t roll.

The hospital has begun looking at ways to help families from different cultural backgrounds through a multi-language Red Nose Safe Sleeping app and by providing Pepi-Pods to refugee families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Pepi-Pods are a perspex box that they can put in their bed so the baby sleeps within that and has its own safe sleeping space," she said.

The safe-sleeping message is also coming from Queensland Police Service with pamphlets being distributed by officers at Logan Hospital to help get the word out.

"The last thing we want is another child death, we don't want families to go through that," he said.

"If we prevent just one, we've done something."