A healthy Doncaster baby died from sudden infant death syndrome after sleeping in her parents’ bed, an inquest has heard.
Two-month-old Olivia Summer Carley was pronounced dead at Doncaster Royal Infirmary at around 7.30am on October 20 last year.
During her inquest today, Doncaster Coroners’ Court heard how Olivia’s dad, Kieran Carley, fed the infant at around 11pm the previous evening, before putting her to bed with her mum, Yvette Leigh Perry.
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Through his police statement, Kieran described how he then left the bedroom and went to sleep in the spare room because of having to get up early for work.
He said: “I went into our bedroom to get ready as normal, at this point I couldn’t see Olivia because my view was obstructed. I saw Olivia was sideways across the pillow [on the bed]. I just knew she was dead.
“When I put her to bed she had the blanket on her, now she had the quilt over her body, not her face. All I can recall is me screaming and Yvette waking up.”
Kieran and Yvette called an ambulance to their Rossington home, and started CPR on Olivia. Despite the best efforts of Olivia’s parents and the medics treating her, she passed away a short time later at hospital.
Consultant Histopathologist, Dr Marta Cohen, conducted Olivia’s post-mortem on October 23, 2017.
“She was normal for two-months, she was a well looked after child, and there was no evidence of trauma,” said Dr Cohen.
She added: “It is a negative post-mortem, it is a natural death, we don’t have a cause. It’s a sudden infant death, which is the leading cause of death in babies under 12 months.”
Dr Cohen told the court that because medics do not know what causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or which babies are going to be vulnerable to it, the only thing parents can do to try and prevent SIDS is to avoid known ‘risk factors’.
Risk factors referred to by Dr Cohen include putting a baby to sleep in its parents’ bed or smoking during pregnancy.
“Babies should sleep on their back, that’s the reason why we recommend babies don’t sleep in their parents’ bed,” she said.
Dr Cohen said the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a Moses basket; adding that babies should not be put to bed with toys, pillows or anything that could help them to rotate, and any blankets used should not be put above their thorax [chest].
Assistant Coroner Louise Slater recorded a conclusion of natural causes, and described little Olivia’s death as ‘very, very tragic and unexpected’.