A mother has been charged with criminal homicide, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment after her two-month-old baby suffocated in her bed.
Jessica M Harper’s son died from asphyxiation while co-sleeping in her bed on July 12 in Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania.
The 28-year-old had previously lost a two-month-old son to asphyxiation in 2011 and had served 85 days in jail. She had reportedly left the baby on the couch with a blanket while she went upstairs.
Just days before the death, doctors had reportedly urged Harper not to practice co-sleeping due to the risks involved, and according to ABC when the child was born she signed documents confirming that "she acknowledged safe sleeping."
Police were called to the woman’s on September 8 and the baby was found unconscious after having slept between his mother and three-year-old sister reports Fox, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Harper was warned numerous times by multiple medical professionals not to have the infant sleep in a bed next to her; Harper ignored those directives," said the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Harper has been taken into custody and social services are caring for her other children.
"Sharing a sleep surface with a baby increases the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI), including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents in some circumstances," reads the SidsAndKids website.
If parents choose to sleep with their baby they must be aware of both the consequences and the risk involved and make an informed decision to do so. Click here and here for more information on safe sleeping practices.