A baby suffocated to death in a shed after being left out there by his parents because the house was “overcrowded”, a court heard. The two-month-old child died when his carrycot, which had been placed on a cardboard box, fell over head first, trapping the tiny tot.
A private family court in Liverpool was told by Judge Steven Parker that the couple had been arguing due to a lack of “sleep and intimacy”. This had led to them leaving their son out in the shed, where he would then die, in June 2020.
The family and the area in which they live have not been named.
Judge Parker explained: “In haste or recklessly, the carrycot was placed by mother and/or father on an inappropriate and insecure cardboard box in the shed. The cot tipped head first off the upper surface of the box which caused (the baby) to move on his left side/shoulder and his face was pressed up against the carrycot side with his head in an unnatural and unusual position.
“This compromised his breathing or ventilation and led to his death from hypoxia and hypercarbia.”
The judge heard that when the youngster’s parents called the emergency services, they claimed he had been found lifeless in his cot in their bedroom.
They added that his death was a tragic case of sudden unexplained death. However, Judge Parker ruled that they “failed to adequately supervise” him.
He said that when the child died, “there was tension in the mother and father’s relationship caused by living…in overcrowded circumstances and during lockdown, lack of sleep and intimacy and poor mental health on the father’s behalf.”
These issues, he said, “led to poor communication”, and eventually “arguments” which “reached the point where parents were not coping well and needed a break from caring for (the baby).”
He said the baby was sometimes left to “cry and self-soothe”, placed on the floor in a room, away from his parents. The baby’s parents denied the child was “ever put in the shed”, however.
READ MORE: Student suspended after taking baby to lectures while breastfeeding [REVEAL]
They also refused to accepted he was “ever placed in his cot on a surface that was inappropriate.”
This, however, was the result of the parents “colluding to provide a false account” of the circumstances that led to their son’s death, the judge ruled. When officers went to their bungalow half an hour after the baby was taken to hospital, they found his cot “in the garden shed”.
Police investigated the boy’s death, but found “no identified criminality or neglect,” while post-mortem tests revealed “no sign of injury.”
Judge Parker said the couple felt they did not have enough support, claiming to have never had any face-to-face visits from the health visitor or midwife.
Several organisations are available to support parents who have lost a child, including Child Bereavement UK and The Lullaby Trust.
The Childhood Bereavement Network also offers advice on where to find local support.