Couch sleeping is the risk, co-sleeping isn’t the problem! Media sort your shit out!

01 Jul
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Look, now mainstream media (the likes of the NZ Herald), I’m talking to you here, we need to have a chat.

 

You need to be more responsible about the way you report some of the shit you are telling us all so you are not creating more issues. You really do have a duty of care.

 

When you publish articles ‘warning of the dangers of co-sleeping’ and then attach that to a horrible, tragic accident that actually might have been avoided if that poor exhausted father went and laid on a safe sleeping surface with his baby next to him instead of the couch! Essentially you are warning people from the very thing that could have saved this baby’s life.

 

Do you get how messed up that is?!

 

You are a huge corporate organisation, you help create the narrative and inform our society. You are a big part of helping set expectations.

 

Surely someone who works there has had a baby before? Surely you guys are aware just how fucking tiring they are. They don’t usually sleep long stints like adults in our modern society seem to have been accustomed to expect.

 

Every parent of a baby gets tired. I would even go so far to say most, if not all people have at some point in the first year of their child’s life, fallen asleep with their baby.

 

Do you know where is the absolute most dangerous place to do this? The couch!

 

Why do a lot of people end up with their sleeping baby on a couch when they are beyond exhausted? Because they are fucking scared of taking thier baby into their bed, because they are afraid of co-sleeping.

 

They are afraid of the very thing you are yet again warning them not to do which also may I remind you, is the same one thing that could have prevented such a tragic accident.

 

Co-sleeping or bed sharing, as an alternative title, is not the issue here.

 

Safe co-sleeping guidelines being more widely shared is in the best interest of safety. Not perpetuating a fear of it. So when the time comes that a new parent is feeling so exhausted that they might fall asleep with their baby, they will not have a fear of going to lay in a bed with them.

 

For reference, a safe sleep surface is one that is firm, free of heavy duvets or extra pillows, has no spaces for baby to roll and smother themselves (it is seriously easy to see why a bed would be a better option than a couch for this aspect alone!), is free of cords or strings or anything that could tangle. A bed is seriously easy to make fit into that criteria. While couches continue to be one of the most common places that accidental death occurs for sleeping infants.

 

I feel so terribly for these people and understand their passion for sharing their story and warning others but the key part here is not co-sleeping. The poor baby died trapped between his father’s arm and the arm of the couch. If they had been on a bed, there would have been more space for movement, much less chance of suffocation risk in the first place! This was not actually even an event of co-sleeping.

 

It is all well and good to say if you are tired put the baby down but if it won’t stop screaming it can make it really hard to sleep in the first place. Putting a blanket rule on sharing a sleeping surface, not adequately differentiating these different kinds of events/settings and even things like the hospital warning the couple of sleeping with the baby. Why not tell them the risks and reasons behind the warning so they can make safe decisions for their family if (and let’s face it, when) the time comes they are exhausted and the baby won’t sleep far from them!

 

Why as another alternative, don’t you tell people about wahakura, also known as pēpi pods which the Ministry of Health have funded for some of our awesome District Health Boards’ programs to distribute to vulnerable families in our communities (https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/332959/govt-to-fund-pepi-pods-for-every-family-that-needs-it)? They are a woven flax basket that your baby sleeps in your bed with you. They are literally saving babies lives by, you guessed it, helping them make their conditions safe for co-sleeping! These parents eligible are often high risk, low income families who are also being encouraged to quit smoking. Why can’t you even add anything locally relevant to the articles you just seem to be resharing?

 

The Le Leache League has some great resources about this stuff, as does Dr James McKenna and the many other great researchers, writers, professor’s and medical professionals listed in the reference section of this article alone – http://breastfeedingtoday-llli.org/the-safe-sleep-seven/

 

I refuse to accept that mainstream media just gets to be ignorant about perpetuating this kind of misinformation. Surely, with all those advertising revenues you guys earn, you could put some more time into researching your ‘articles’? Babies dying in loving arms of their parents who are trying to do the best for them is a special kind of hell that should never be inflicted upon anyone. ANYTHING we can do to keep our vulnerable members of society safe and cared for should be a priority.

 

And by vulnerable members I don’t just mean the babies, I mean the parents too. Stop with the unrealistic expectations, the scare tactics, the judgements… You know you do have the option to create content or even just alter it slightly so it offered just a glimmer of support right?

 

 

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If you are interested in the article this was particularly in response to, it this one here…. then you can view it without increasing the views and exposure of this misinformation!

 

 

Baby boy dies from suffocation while sleeping on dad’s chest

NZ Herald – 20 Jun, 2018 9:10am

 

The heartbroken parents of a 2-month-old baby boy who suffocated while laying on his sleeping dad’s chest have opened up in the hope their tragedy will warn others against the dangers of co-sleeping.

Carmine Martino, a 20-year-old from the US, was exhausted following a long day and decided to sit on the couch with his young son.

Placing him on his chest, Martino then drifted off to sleep. He awoke to tragedy.

While the 20-year-old father was sleeping his baby boy, Lucas John Martino, fell between his dad’s arm and the couch and ended up being suffocated.

His mum Haley Gavrills, 20, had also taken the chance to get some sleep.

She woke up and went to check on her baby, who she assumed was in his cot. However after realising he wasn’t there, she panicked and woke Martino up.

That’s when they discovered Lucas’ body on the couch in the early hours of November 26, 2017.

“I went closer to my partner to wake him up and said ‘where’s Lucas?’. He looked really confused,” Gavrills said.

“He lifted up his arm and you could see Lucas’s body between his arm and the arm of the chair.

“Lucas’s body was lifeless. Carmine started doing CPR and I called 911 so the lady was telling us how to do it. I was screaming and screaming at them to get the ambulance which arrived 12 minutes later.”

Despite frantic efforts to revive their beloved baby, Lucas was confirmed dead by paramedics.

Now the parents, who split up a month after Lucas’ death, say they’re haunted by the tragedy and want to tell their story to warn other parents of the dangers of co-sleeping.

“There was a lot of blame obviously – of course I blamed myself,” Martino, from the US, told media.

“Being a father – it’s my job to protect my family, my son and my girlfriend and I failed them. I was extremely angry with myself.

“The biggest thing was disappointment with letting my son down and my girlfriend down and all of our families. Everybody loved that little boy.

“I’m trying to make progress every day. There’s no way to live with something like this and the images of performing CPR on him will haunt me forever.

“I’m trying my best to work through my grief, I know I have a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I’m not looking to forget what happened, I never want to forget what happened. It’s learning to live with it, that’s something I have to teach myself.”

Gavrills also took to social media to express her sorrow and revealed she received hundreds of messages from parents saying they slept with their babies all the time but won’t any more.

The heartbroken 20-year-old hopes her story will prevent the death of another baby.

“We were both aware of the potential dangers of falling asleep with the baby. I remember being very aware of it and speaking about it at the hospital.

“But people would say to me ‘oh I fell asleep with my children and they were fine’ and I think ‘that’s great but you’re just lucky’.

“There are so many people out there who are not educated about this … That’s the scary part. If it happened to us then it could happen to so many other babies.

“There are also parents like us who are so tired. If you feel tired just put the baby down.

“I hope by sharing what happened it might help to save another child’s life and Lucas won’t have died in vain. I want to make his life as purposeful as possible by telling his story.”

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