Thursday, 9 June 2011

SIDS: Gloucestershire: Coroner warns parents not to bed share with infant children

7th June 2011
A CORONER has warned parents not to share a bed with their infant children after hearing about the deaths of two babies in Gloucestershire on the same day.
Gloucestershire assistant deputy coroner Tom Osborne said: "I would again emphasise that "co-sleeping" is recognised as increasing the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - or cot death - and should be avoided at all times."
He said there was no criticism of either set of parents in the two cases he dealt with yesterday, Monday, but it was important that parents were educated about the risks to their babies' lives.
He was speaking at the inquests into the deaths of six-week-old Logan Worthington, of The Quarry, Fairford, and Ella Meszaros, aged four months, of Beaumont Road, Cheltenham.
Both babies died on September 26 last year.
The inquest into Logan's death heard that his mother, Heather Brookes, woke around 7.45am to find Logan was not breathing. Paramedics attempted to resuscitate him and he was taken to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon where further attempts to revive him failed.
Heather had been sharing a bed with Logan after a birthday party at his grandparents' home, the inquest was told.
Dr Philip Cox, consultant pathologist at the Birmingham Women's Hospital, carried out a post mortem examination, and said there were a number of pinpoint haemorrhages to Logan's forehead, in one eye and in his chest.
These were unusual but not unknown in cot deaths, he said, and could also be related to the resuscitation attempts.
He said there was no evidence of asphyxia and traces of a cocaine metabolite were found in his urine although this was not significant in Logan's death.
Dr Cox said he was unable to give the definite cause of death as due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and was better classified as unascertained.
Forensic toxicologist Dr Simon Elliott said analysis revealed a trace amount of a cocaine metabolite in his urine but he agreed this was of no significance.
Detective Inspector Ruth Mather told the inquest that Ms Brookes had admitted to taking cocaine the night before, but this had no causal link to her son's death.
Mr Osborne said there was no criticism of Ms Brookes or Logan's father, Alun Worthington.
He said on the evidence an open verdict was the only appropriate ruling.
The inquest into Ella's death was told that she died in Cheltenham General Hospital after being found face down on a soft pillow in her parents' bed at home.
Dr Cox, who carried out a post mortem examination, said his investigations were not conclusive. He could not rule out asphyxiation, but he could not give the cause of death with certainty and said Ella's death was unascertained.
In a statement to the inquest, her father Aaron said he and her mother, Clare Green, had gone to a party on Saturday, September 25. Ella was normal apart from having a little sniffle, he said.
She had slept in her pushchair at the party and had gone to sleep in their bed around 4am on September 26. They awoke around 11.20am to find Ella face down on a pillow and unresponsive.
They were unable to rouse her, an ambulance was called, efforts were made to resuscitate her but she was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Detective Sergeant Angela Middlewood told the inquest there were no suspicious circumstances in Ella's death.
The coroner said the only verdict he could record was an open verdict.
He said this was another case of a baby tragically dying when parents were "co-sleeping" with their child.
Mr Osborne said he hoped that any parents reading reports of these cases would take note of the risks and avoid co-sleeping with their infants

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