"You're laying on top of the baby" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

"You're laying on top of the baby"

There's renewed debate over the safety of sleeping with your baby. A new study from the centers for disease control shows a rise in the number of babies accidentally suffocated or strangled in bed, but both doctors and parents are split over the study's results.

Dayton West-Mullen's mom thought she was doing the right thing by letting him sleep with her in her bed. Then, when he was four months old...

"It was about ten till eight and my mother-in-law came in and yelled, you're laying on top of the baby," said Lisa West. 

Dayton suffocated to death, and West says the feeling of guilt never goes away.

"No matter how many times people tell me it's not my fault in my heart, the heart of a mom, from the moment Dayton was born it was like, 'I would give my life to protect this child' and I couldn't save him," said West.

According to a new CDC report, more than 300 babies suffocated during 2003 and 2004 when someone rolled over them in bed.

"If there's a safe way to share a bed with a baby we don't know what it is yet," said Dr. Rachel Moon. 

So then why, are smart, educated parents like Beverly Steiger sleeping with their babies? Steiger said she has heard the warnings, but she's convinced there's no way she'd ever roll over on four-month-old Simon.

"It's really hard to explain but you have such a heightened awareness when you're exclusively breast feeding your baby," said Steiger. "I would never, ever roll over on him. It would never, ever happen."

In many cultures, all around the world, sleeping with baby is the norm, and is often done safely. That's why some pediatricians say the CDC study doesn't really prove that co-sleeping is dangerous.

"I absolutely do feel that co-sleeping can be a very safe thing to do as long as you're doing it right," said Dr. Moon. 

But Lisa West said there is no way a parent should ever sleep in the same bed with their small child.

"Those people who are advising parents to sleep with their infants, in some of those cases, they're signing those babies' death warrants," said West. 

OK, so where does this leave parents? Different experts advocate different things, but here's one approach from the March of Dimes. They say that after learning about the risks of sleeping with your baby if you still want to do it, follow this advice...lie the baby on his back, keep the baby away from blankets and pillows and don't take medications that induce a heavier sleep.

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