A doctor who lost his baby boy in 2010 is warning other parents of the dangers of letting their infant children sleep on their mom or dad’s chests.
Dr. Sam Hanke says the social media trend of men who display their “mothering” skills by allowing tiny, sleeping babies to sleep on their bodies for a cute snapshot can be more harmful than most realize, as Hanke and his wife found out seven years ago.
Speaking with Metro, Dr. Hanke revealed that his own son, Charlie, died as a result of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) after falling asleep on the doctor’s chest for a short nap.
“I just sat down on the couch to watch some TV and he was kind of sitting on my chest.” Dr. Hanke recalled of the sad incident to Fatherly.
“We were just hanging out and I nodded off,” Hanke went on to remember.
“A couple hours later, I woke up and Charlie was gone.”
Charlie had succumbed to SIDS, a deadly syndrome that the American SIDS Institute says affects nearly 4,000 children a year.
“SIDS [is a blanket term for] accidental deaths (such as suffocation and strangulation), sudden natural deaths (such as those caused from infections, cardiac or metabolic disorders, and neurological conditions), and homicides” related to infants, the website explains.
After Charlie’s premature passing, Dr. Hanke and his wife launched Charlie’s Kids, a foundation that looks to educate parents on SIDS and “the safest way to let their babies sleep,” according to Metro.
“[For example], the foundation points out that many babies die every year due to sleeping with their parents – usually because the baby falls off the parent’s chest or because the sleeping adult rolls over and suffocates the baby.”
Interestingly, parenting website Romper counterpoints with the supposed benefits of allowing a baby to sleep on their mother or father’s chest.
“Letting your newborn sleep on your chest actually improves the relationship between baby and child because of the skin-to-skin contact,” they say, “[and] the carbon dioxide that mothers release while sleeping near their babies can help stimulate their breathing.”
Be that as it may, Romper also brings up that by doing so, parents risk the chance of losing their little ones to the unforgiving SIDS.
“When your baby is in this position, it increases the chances of them being smothered because their face may be covered,” Romper writes.
“This usually occurs when the parent falls asleep while the child is sleeping, too.”
Do you allow your baby to sleep on your chest? Head to the comments section and share your thoughts on this topic.
[Featured Image by IvanJekic/iStock]