GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids, Michigan, baby likely died because he was sleeping in bed with his mother, and now the mom is turning to social media in hopes of preventing a death like this from happening to another family.
Everett James was 5 months old when his father came home to find him in bed with his mother, Angela. She was sleeping and he was not breathing and unresponsive.
The parents called 911 and attempted CPR unsuccessfully. Everett died on May 16, the day he turned 5 months old.
“This will be the hardest thing for me to write in my life,” Angela wrote in her post. “But if it saves even one life, it is worth it…”
A recent study reportedly found that nearly half of all parents admits to sleeping with their baby. Eleven percent said they do it on a regular basis.
Doctors at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital say they hear about co-sleeping deaths every year.
“Taking that risk and saying ‘maybe it won’t happen tonight’ — it’s just not worth that risk,” Dr. Bill Bush, Pediatrician in Chief at the hospital said.
Bush says doctors at Helen DeVos talk about sleeping conditions with every mother who gives birth at the hospital but says that information is part of a lot of other information mothers get before they’re sent home.
Bush says he’s had to speak with parents after they have lost a child to co-sleeping.
“Every situation that happens – it’s so sad for us as a community and for a family… A preventable death,” Bush said. “We can really, hopefully decrease the number of times that I ever have to have these conversations with families.”
Grand Rapids police are investigating the Everett’s death. They say they’re waiting for toxicology reports to confirm their initial suspicion that the child died due to co-sleeping with his mother.
Angela, who asked that we only use her first name in this report, says she hopes her story hits home.
“As much as you love to snuggle and cuddle your little one, please resist the temptation to do so in bed. No matter how difficult it may seem at the time, put them to sleep in their own crib and avoid the greatest pain that one can experience in life — the pain that we are now experiencing,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “Your child’s life is too valuable.”
The family is hoping to raise awareness on social media using the hashtag #everettjamesawareness on Twitter and Facebook.