A mom from England had her two young children taken away by a family court judge and put up for adoption this week.
Her crime? Letting the toddlers sleep in the same bed with her.
The bizarre and controversial ruling came from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, where Judge Richard Greene said the mother failed to take the court’s advice against allowing the two boys under the age of four to sleep with her at night.
Social workers had reportedly raised questions after the two young boys showed up with bruises, but they later determined that they were likely caused unintentionally by “rough” handling from both parents, the Telegraph reported.
But ultimately, both boys were taken from the mother and put up for adoption for another reason entirely, the Independent noted — her decision to let them co-sleep with her.
“He also added that although evidence showed the couple loved their children and would not intentionally hurt them, the children’s mother ‘always thinks that she knows best.'”
“Social workers claimed the mother was ignoring advice about having her children in bed with her and also rejected any recommendations about feeding.”
The story of the children taken away and put up for adoption for co-sleeping with their mother went viral this week, gaining coverage across the U.K. and from other outlets across the globe. Many who read and shared the story were outraged that the children would be taken away from their parents permanently for co-sleeping, which is a practice that some parents embrace despite warnings of danger from child health professionals.
— TEN Eyewitness News (@channeltennews) February 13, 2017
“This is some kind of joke isn’t it? Children are being abused and indeed murdered in this country and Social Workers fail to save them because the parents do not allow them access,” one commenter wrote.
“This mother has obviously allowed them access and has decided against taking their advice on feeding and sleeping arrangements. And their children are put up for adoption? Really?”
The subject of co-sleeping has always been a controversial one. Many experts note that sleeping with young children in a bed can be potentially dangerous, though these experts usually say that in reference to infants who are smaller and have more difficulty turning or moving on their own.
“It’s one of the risk factors associated with infants dying suddenly and unexpectedly,” Dr. Ian Mitchell, chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee with SIDS Calgary, told Global News.
“The evidence is based on a whole series of cohort studies.”
The dangers of co-sleeping are heightened when parents have had drugs or alcohol or are on medical that makes it difficult for them to wake, experts noted. They maintain that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib on their back, free from clutter like bulky blankets.
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) February 4, 2017
But the Global News report noted that many advocates believe co-sleeping is healthy — even beneficial.
“There is not another mammal that does not keep their babies close to them at night,” says Teresa Pitman, the co-author of Sweet Sleep.
“I think that’s why babies cry so much when you put them somewhere else, and why mothers feel that real pain when they don’t have their babies close to them.”
The story of the mother whose two children were taken away and put up for adoption because she let them sleep in her bed had some details missing. The news outlets that have covered the story have not named the mother or her children, and some commenters noted that it sounded more appropriate that the young boys were taken away because of the bruises found on their bodies than for co-sleeping with their mom.
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