Mom Charged With Manslaughter After Baby Suffocates While Co-Sleeping

mom kills baby co-sleeping
Wayne County PD

Co-sleeping is a hot topic among parents. Some argue that it's the best way to keep your baby safe and get a good night's sleep. But others worry that sleeping with mom and dad poses risks to babies, like what happened in this recent case. A Michigan mother has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after her infant son suffocated while co-sleeping.

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According to People, 32-year-old Leslie Neuman had an undisclosed amount of alcohol in her system on December 29, 2016, when she got into bed with her 6-month-old son, Connor. Over the course of the night, the baby somehow became "wedged" between the bed and the wall, which caused him to suffocate to death.

"It is alleged that Neuman placed the infant in the bed with her that created an unsafe sleep situation resulting the death of her child," Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy said in an official statement. "The specific facts and evidence in the case will be placed on the record at the preliminary examination." On Monday, September 18, 2017, Neuman was charged on counts of both involuntary manslaughter and child abuse.

But Leslie Neuman's lawyer, Maggie Cotant, argues that the charges are too harsh for the unintentional nature of the incident.

"She's been going through hell since this baby died," she told People. "It's a tragic, horrible accident. It's a punishment in and of itself that she has to live with forever. They made it sound like she did this horrible thing." 

Cotant says Neuman did not intentionally get intoxicated before getting into bed with her son, arguing that her client consumed four beers and one shot of liquor over the course of eight hours. "The drinking occurred over this long period of time," she told People. "They make it sound like she was this alcoholic, drunk person who went to bed wasted with her baby. But in reality, they have no idea."

A report filed with Child Protective Services (CPS) by an anonymous hospital worker states that Neuman seemed to be going through some sort of drug withdrawal directly after the birth of her son. In addition, CPS also reportedly issued a previous warning to Neuman about co-sleeping. Cotant admits that Neuman sought treatment for substance and alcohol abuse during her pregnancy, but she maintains her client's innocence.

"This is a person who has been punished enough. She really, truly is a good mom," Cotant stressed. 

More from CafeMom: This Mom Doesn't Care What You Think About Her Co-Sleeping for 9 Years

While many might use this case to argue that co-sleeping is inherently dangerous, there is plenty of evidence that suggests otherwise. When done correctly, and with precautions, it can be a safe and convenient option for parents.

When co-sleeping, your babies should always sleep on their back with their head uncovered. It should also be ensured that children aren't in danger of falling out of bed, but they still shouldn't be blocked in by walls or pillows where they could become trapped (many experts recommend sleeping on a mattress on the floor). In addition, parents should refrain from drugs, alcohol, or anything that causes them to sleep too heavily.

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