When an infant dies in the context of an unsafe sleep environment, there are some key points to understand if the potential for civil, family or criminal proceedings evolves.
Expert Topic – Sleep Related Fatalities
- Safe infant sleep includes being on the back, alone in a crib without pillows/blankets/toys/nursing pillows, and in a separate sleep space.
- Parental knowledge about safe sleep varies, and our safe sleep fatality expert has done research on this topic. Thus, the consideration of unsafe sleep being neglect deserves careful consideration.
- Most autopsies are negative for findings that can directly correlate the death to infant sleep position or environment. For example, even if a parent is sleeping in bed with a child, if there are no marks on the autopsy indicative of a roll-over, it is challenging to ascribe the cause directly to unsafe sleep.
- There are civil considerations for fatalities related to unsafe sleep given the intended vs. practical use of infant products.