FORT ANN — A weeks-old baby died early Tuesday at a home on Route 4, and police believe the child was accidentally suffocated by her mother as they slept in bed.
The death marks the second in the region in less than a month in which a mother in bed with a child was believed to have accidentally smothered her baby. State Police investigated a similar case in a Queensbury apartment complex on June 11. An autopsy led police to conclude the death was accidental and no charges were warranted.
Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said he spoke Tuesday with Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan about the offices getting involved in an educational program for parents to highlight the risks of what is called “co-sleeping,” when parents and young children sleep in the same bed.
“We talked yesterday about coming up with something to do as a reminder so maybe we can prevent these tragedies,” Jordan said.
Emergency responders were sent to the Fort Ann home shortly after 8 a.m., when it was discovered the 9-week-old baby was not breathing. CPR was administered to no avail.
The child had been in bed with the mother, who had been breastfeeding the baby earlier in the morning, officials said.
State Police were called to investigate, and the home was cordoned off for much of the day as a possible crime scene until an autopsy was performed at Albany Medical Center later in the day. That autopsy led to the conclusion the death was accidental and consistent with suffocation. No criminal charges were planned.
The Post-Star is withholding the family’s name, because no charges were filed.
A relative of the mother’s, sitting outside the home with state troopers Tuesday morning, said no one there wanted to discuss the situation, calling it a “private family matter.”
The region has seen two other clusters of child deaths during co-sleeping over the past decade, with at least six children dying during those periods.
An educational effort was initiated through the Warren-Washington Counties Care Center in Glens Falls after two baby deaths from accidental suffocation during co-sleeping in 2009. Glens Falls Hospital started an educational program in 2006 after four baby deaths in similar circumstances in the preceding months.
Michael Guglielmoni, executive director of the Care Center, said the center, Glens Falls Hospital, local Department of Social Services offices and the Glens Falls YMCA have all distributed educational pamphlets that were put together in 2009. His agency was in the process of updating and getting more printed before the infant fatalities of the last couple of weeks, Guglielmoni said. The risks are also covered in some prenatal educational courses.
“We’re just trying to get the message out there about the risks of co-sleeping,” he said.
Anyone who wants pamphlets can contact the Care Center at 792-2731.