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Co-sleeping death investigated in Waukesha

Jan. 28, 2011
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By Laurel Walker of the Journal Sentinel

Jan. 28, 2011 0

Waukesha - Police and the Waukesha County medical examiner's office are investigating the death of a 4-month-old baby overnight in which co-sleeping, where the mother and baby were sharing a bed, appears to be a factor, police Capt. Dennis Angle said.

A parent called emergency services to the Whiterock Ave. home shortly after 4:30 a.m. Friday. Angle said the parents attempted to resuscitate the baby boy, as did a police officer who arrived on the scene and found the baby unconscious. Fire Department rescue crews en route to the hospital also attempted life-saving measures, Angle said.

He said the initial investigation does not indicate that alcohol or drugs were involved. He could not immediately say whether the home was equipped with a crib, although the parents had other children in the house.

In 2009, the Waukesha County Child Fatality Review Team stepped up efforts to educate parents of newborns about the dangers of co-sleeping and steps that could prevent such deaths. The simple "ABC" message is that babies should sleep alone, on their backs, in a crib.

As of late 2009, the county reported seven sudden unexpected infant deaths in five years where co-sleeping may have been a factor, along with other conditions, and three other deaths where co-sleeping was listed on the death certificate.

Deputy Medical Examiner Andrea Sorce said Friday that of the 11 infant deaths reported to her office last year, one, located in Muskego, was found to have involved unsafe sleeping practices.

About Laurel Walker
Laurel Walker covered local, school and county government for 20 years -- the last half of that at the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -- before she was named Waukesha County columnist in 1997. Today she writes about the people, places and events around metropolitan Milwaukee with a broad suburban focus. She was the youngest of nine children raised on a central Wisconsin farm before leaving the nest for journalism studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a masters degree at the University of Oregon. She has spent the last half of her life in Waukesha County, where she and her husband raised two sons. Though she has a fondness for life in Waukesha, she eagerly partakes in the culture of the big city to the east and the recreation of the forests to the west. With sons in the arts, she has a special fondness for symphonic music concerts and art museums. She finds peace in a good book at a Northwoods getaway weekend, adventure in family visits to the east and west coasts, and satisfaction in a column well-written that reaches readers.
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