Jacksonville infant's death underscores dangers of co-sleeping

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The death this week of a Jacksonville infant, which medical examiners suspect may have been caused by sharing a bed with a parent, underscores the dangers of co-sleeping.

Experts say co-sleeping often happens when parents of young ones are exhausted and end up bringing their babies to bed with them. Seems innocent enough, right?

Not so fast, according to health professionals, who say it's a risky habit that can lead to the sort of mistake no parent ever wants to make. It can have deadly consequences, such as suffocation.

Suzanne Jones, Director of Women's & Children's Services at Orange Park Medical Center, works with new mothers all the time. She said parents are oblivious to their surroundings once they doze off.

"You don't realize that you have rolled over or you've thrown covers over and that could get in the baby's face or cause suffocation," Jones told News4Jax reporter Jenese Harris.

Worse yet, she said, babies are helpless in that position. At that age, they don't yet have the ability to rearrange themselves in bed.

There were 96 sleep-related deaths in 2017, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families. It's unclear how many of those were linked to co-sleeping.

So far this year, the Medical Examiner's Office has investigated nine baby deaths, and at least one of those was found to have been caused by co-sleeping with an adult.

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