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Brooke Hunter co-sleeping charge

Source: Courtesy of HAMILTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE / Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office

A Cincinnati, Ohio mom faces charges of “involuntary manslaughter and endangering children” after a second newborn has died as a result of co-sleeping, WCPO News reported

Brooke Hunter’s 6-week-old baby died from co-sleeping in June and her first child died just last year under the same circumstance. The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office put out a warrant for Hunter’s arrest, as the incident is being considered a homicide since it is the mother’s second offense. Reportedly, Hunter received a warning against sleeping with an infant when the first baby succumbed to the practice, People noted.

Once upon a time, co-sleeping was considered a traditional, cultural practice among 70 percent of Black families and, according to Science Direct, “associated with a parental approach that emphasized parental involvement and body contact.” 

However, in more recent years, co-sleeping—the act of bed-sharing with an infant—has become associated with sudden infant deaths (SIDS). 

A 2018 report conducted by Vital Signs revealed that, annually, roughly 3500 babies lose their lives to sleep-related deaths and closely-related, sudden unknown infant death (SUID)  is more than two times prevalent in Black communities, with 191.2 Black infant deaths per 100,000 live births, when compared to 82.4 white infant deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Guidelines for safe infant sleeping have been created by the American Academy of Pediatric, and were recently updated in June base on evidence that would reduce the risk of sleep-related mortality in infants.

Here are a few first-line safety precautions listed below: 

  • After feeding or comforting your baby, return the infant to its sleeping quarters when you’re ready to go to sleep.
  • If you think you might dose off or fall asleep, get rid of any pillows, bedding or items that has the potential to cover your head area or overheat. When you wake up, move the child to its own bed. 
  • Try not to fall asleep anywhere with your baby. Sleep-related deaths in infants increases “67 times higher” when babies sleep with people on sofas, recliners or any thing that has a cushion, according to Healthy Children

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