Co-Sleeping Doesn’t Explain Toddler’s Sudden & Mysterious Death in Mom's Bed

duvetA 15-month-old child died suddenly after trying to sleep with her mother. And you know where this story is going to go -- someone is going to blame co-sleeping. Mother Kristy Hainsborough was sleeping on a sofa; her husband was sleeping on another sofa with their daughters, toddler Sienna-Louise and her baby sister. Sienna-Louise apparently got up in the night and crawled under the duvet to sleep with her mother. Kristy found her near her feet the next morning, dead.

Investigators say Sienna-Louise died of sudden childhood death syndrome, which is much less common than sudden infant death syndrome. Coroner Paul Kelly says co-sleeping was "a factor" in that death. But isn't that going too far?


I had no idea sudden child death syndrome even existed -- that definitely sends chills down my spine. It's extremely rare (1.5 cases in 100,000 births), affects children mostly age 1 through 3, and occurs more often in boys than girls.

Since Sienna-Louise was found underneath a duvet, I would think suffocation would be the culprit, not SCDS. But a thorough investigation was done, so I suppose we'll have to take their word for it. Still, I don't think we have to bring co-sleeping in as a factor. The link between SIDS and co-sleeping has been questioned by doctors and researchers. There's contradictory research suggesting that co-sleeping might even lower your child's risk for SIDS and SCDS.

Kristy and her husband say they had been warned of the risks of co-sleeping. It seems they made the choice to co-sleep anyway, for whatever reason. But I don't think we should blame co-sleeping for their daughter's tragic early death.

Do you think co-sleeping is a factor in SIDS or SCDS?


Image via Deron Bauman/Flickr

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