A mum has spoken out about the dangers of co-sleeping after her hair nearly strangled her son to death.
Emma Lewis Chipili, 35, was sleeping in bed with her 16-month-old Lincoln, when she realised her hair had wound tightly around his neck.
The mum-of-six who has bed-shared with her little one since he was a baby, normally ties her hair up, but had loosened it because she had a headache.
“I fell asleep and I could feel him moving around and I woke up and got up and realised my hair was tight around him,” she told Wales Online.
Emma said she started to panic and the more she tried to unwind the hair, the tighter it seemed to become.
Thankfully, her husband Justin arrived home and was able to free Lincoln from the hair.
Now, the mum has taken to Facebook to warn other parents to be careful when sleeping next to their children.
“Well that was the scariest thing that have ever have happened to me,” she wrote before filling other parents in about the terrifying story.
She also urged parents with long hair who share a bed with their children to tie their hair up.
It isn’t the first time a mum has opened up about co-sleeping risks.
“Many people tell me that if their babies were to die for no reason in their sleep, they would want their child next to them, instead of alone. I would also have to disagree there,” she said after her baby’s death.
“Never knowing if my baby would still be alive had he been sleeping alone is something I will take to the grave with me… But I would not wish this feeling of guilt and never knowing the answer on anyone.”
The issue of co-sleeping is something that divides parents. While many take precautions to ensure they are co-sleeping with their children as safely as possible, a recent study suggests there are some risks associated with the parenting practice.
While it can be reassuring to know if anything happens then you’re right there, research suggests that nearly three babies a week die in a situation where “co-sleeping” was a factor.
The figures, held by the Department of Education, were released after a Freedom of Information Act request.
They revealed that there were 141 recorded co-sleeping-related deaths in 2017, 131 in 2016 and 121 in 2015.
The concerning figures no doubt contribute to the reasons that many parents aren’t always honest about the fact that they co-sleep with their children.
“Some parents choose to share a bed with their baby but we recommend they keep in mind the risk factors,” explained Francine Bates, of The Lullaby Trust.
If parents accidentally roll over, they can crush their infant, leading to suffocation or over-heating.
The chance of this happening increases for parents who smoke, have taken drugs or alcohol or are very tired.
“There’s also an increased risk if your baby was premature or at a low birth weight.” Ms Bates added.
Parents who co-sleep successfully and safely with their children cite benefits including increased security and a decreased chance of separation anxiety for the toddler.
It’s also believed that the overall development of the baby is improved by staying close to the parent’s smell and comfort.
Co-sleeping was previously thought to lower the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but last year’s research could throw doubt on that.
SIDS, where a baby passes away in their sleep for no obvious reason, is considered more likely during co-sleeping.
Ms Bates said: “The safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own cot or Moses basket in their parents’ bedroom until they are at least six months old.
“If you are breastfeeding in bed, do it in a position where you won’t fall asleep. A good tip is to set an alarm on your phone.”
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