'Co-Sleeping' Mom Charged After a 2nd Baby Dies

Erin Piche-Pitts had been warned on co-sleeping dangers for both babies, authorities say
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2016 8:51 AM CST

"It happened again" is what Erin Piche-Pitts told authorities when her second infant died of apparent suffocation, even though she'd been repeatedly warned about the dangers of co-sleeping, the New York Times reports. The son of the woman from Winter Haven, Fla., died in October, this time resulting in a felony aggravated manslaughter charge against her. Per the Orlando Sentinel, the story begins Dec. 4, 2009, not even two weeks after baby Angelina was born. Piche-Pitts brought the infant into bed to breastfeed and dozed off, waking to find the baby "cold and stiff to the touch," per an affidavit; Angelina's death was ruled accidental. On Oct. 6 of this year, her 18-day-old son, Javier, became unresponsive after she fell asleep in bed with him during a bottle feeding, the affidavit notes. His death was also ruled accidental, though his autopsy hasn't been finalized.

What leads these two incidents into negligence territory is that Piche-Pitts had been warned both during her pregnancies and after the births about co-sleeping dangers—via training and counseling, and from hospital staff and family—and especially so after Angelina died, per the Polk County Sheriff's Office (which also gave WTSP a rap sheet on Piche-Pitts that includes burglary, domestic violence, and possession of meth). The Times notes the case highlights the ongoing controversy on co-sleeping, with some (especially in non-Western parts of the world) insisting it can be a safe way to get infants back to sleep if practiced correctly, while others continue to note its dangers. "These are very, very difficult cases," a Polk County prosecutor says. "We are not charging parents with crimes because accidents happen. There has got to be something more to it." (The risks of co-sleeping are long documented.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.