Mobile County Prosecutors Alarmed by Rising Number of Sleep-Related Child Deaths | Mobile County Alabama News
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Mobile County prosecutors said they have seen an increase in the number of children who have died from “co-sleeping” accidents involving parents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1,400 children died this way in 2019 – 1,250 from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, 1,180 labeled as “unknown” and 960 from accidental suffocation or strangulation.
Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Coy Morgan heads a committee of law enforcement officials, pediatricians and others who periodically review child deaths in the country. The most recent review looked at 21 child deaths, mostly in 2020, with a few in 2018 and 2019.
“We had 11 sleep related deaths, and most of them were just tragic circumstances, ranging from – we had one where a twin was in the same cradle with another knocked down twin,” a- he told FOX10 News. “We had a couple where the father – one was a father sleeping on his back, had the baby on his stomach or on his chest. The baby falls while the father sleeps and gets stuck and suffocates.
The purpose of the review, Morgan said, is to ensure that cases that might justify criminal charges do not fall through the cracks. He said officials are also keen to educate the public about accidents they believe are preventable.
Some cases involve clear criminal activity, Morgan said.
Corey Parsons, for example, faces a capital murder charge in connection with allegations that he violently rocked his 3-month-old daughter in 2019. In a 2020 case, Tony Fowler is charged with manslaughter in the death of a 2-year-old man. an old boy who found a loaded gun in a motel room they were staying in and committed suicide.
Morgan said excessive alcohol or drug use often triggers criminal prosecution. But he added that many others are pure accidents.
“Most of them were very preventable, very tragic.” he said. “And that’s something we want to make sure the public knows; that they (infants) need to sleep alone in a crib or in an environment.
Morgan recalled a case involving a single mother, exhausted after returning from work.
“We have a mother who fell asleep in a bathtub, and the baby fell and drowned,” he said.
In another case, Morgan said: “We had a father asleep on the couch and the baby fell.”
In May of last year, an almost 3-year-old boy managed to climb onto an air conditioning unit in a motel room in Tillman’s Corner and fell three floors.
But sleep-related deaths have been the most alarming in recent months, Morgan said. He reported a case in which two 5-year-olds, a 6-year-old baby and a 9-month-old baby were all sleeping in the same bed. The baby, he said, eventually suffocated.
Morgan said the Alabama Department of Human Resources provides parents with free beds as part of its “Baby Box” program. He said speaking with his counterparts in other parts of the state suggests the recent increase in sleep-related deaths is a larger trend.
“Looks like it’s through the roof for sleep-related (deaths). … This is a significant increase, not only in Mobile County, but across the state, ”he said.
All content © 2021, WALA; Mobile, Alabama. (A Meredith Corporation station). All rights reserved.