A little girl found dead in her parents’ bed was in a “dangerous” bed
A baby girl has died aged just under nine weeks after an alleged ‘layering’ incident where she was suffocated by an adult who rolled over in her sleep.
The child was “found lifeless in her parents’ bed by her father” in the early morning of New Year’s Day, January 1, 2018.
His death is thought to have been caused by ‘overlaying’, but the results of a post-mortem examination were inconclusive, Yorkshire Live reports.
A serious case review has been released by the Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board looking into the tragedy.
He noted that the youngster’s parents were known to agencies and local authorities for incidents of domestic abuse and neglect of older siblings born in 2010, 2011 and 2014.
The review states: “Although the circumstances of Child A’s death are inconclusive, the autopsy revealed that the sleeping arrangements for the child were unsafe and raised the possibility of an overlay parental.”
A Child in Need plan had been in place since June 2015, but in January 2016 there was a unanimous decision to close the plan. Mum was recorded to have made “significant progress in meeting the children’s needs”, although her engagement with services was “sporadic”.
Dad was allowed to see the children, but only under supervision, according to the report. However, the report says he “appeared to be living primarily at the address”.
During her pregnancy with “Child A” — the report does not name the baby — mom denied a relationship with her father, saying her pregnancy was the result of a one-night stand.
She also denied any domestic violence. The report noted that conditions at council-owned property in Kirklees were poor.
The gas supply had been cut at the request of the mum in October 2017. There were no suitable beds for children and there was waste in the garden, as well as no gas supply. Child A was also in an “unsafe sleeping environment”.
The baby girl was found dead in bed early on New Year’s Eve 2018. Earlier that morning, police were called to the property after the father reported that his brother was drunk and refusing to leave the house.
Officers responded quickly, determined that no offense had been committed, and fired the brother.
The report made 31 ‘learning points’ in relation to the baby’s death. The following points were raised:
- Ensure that all professionals working with the family are invited to multi-agency meetings
- Professionals working with all families should seek to deepen their understanding of domestic violence, particularly with regard to the commitment of perpetrators, the impact of coercive control on victims, the risk of contact agreements and the effects short-term and long-term exposure to domestic violence on children.
- Assessments should include the voice of the child, challenge parents when they offer conflicting accounts of events, respond to new and emerging information, and be vigorously challenged by managers through a process of supervision.
- Where a family has been known to services at different levels of protective intervention over a period of time, care should be taken to understand historical concerns and determine whether they are still present alongside new concerns.
- In light of historical concerns about appropriate sleeping arrangements for children, all agencies should consider how they can further support families to ensure children have appropriate sleeping arrangements.
- Relevant housing providers should be routinely invited to multi-agency child protection discussions.
In a statement, Kirklees Safeguarding Children Partnership told YorkshireLive: “Overlaying can occur when a young child sleeps with adults in the same bed, although it is important to note this has not been fully established. as the cause of the sadness of child A. death.
“The aim of any review of safeguarding practices – both locally and nationally – is to assess how a family has been supported and to seek ways to develop future practices.
“This review highlighted areas of good practice and found a number of learning points. It did not identify any action that could have been taken by professionals to prevent the death of Child A.
“We can confirm that learning has already progressed as part of our commitment to ensuring that children and families receive the best possible support from local agencies.”
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