MILFORD (WWJ) – A Milford man is facing up to 15 years in prison, charged in the accidental death of his infant daughter while he was drunk.
Milford Police Chief Thomas Linberg says dispatch received a 911 call last February from Keith Brown who reported the 6-month-old girl was unresponsive and cold to the touch.
Paramedics on the scene tried to revive Sophia Grace, but were unable.
Keith Brown, 25, first told police he had laid Sophia on the floor to sleep.
However, Linberg said an autopsy revealed the baby’s cause of death was positional compression asphyxiation, which essentially is suffocation based on the position of the child.
Linberg said Brown then admitted to investigators he had fallen asleep on the couch with the baby in the crook of his arm. Brown was “super drunk” at the time, with a blood alcohol of .31, which can be lethal. (Under Michigan law, .17 BAC or above is considered “super drunk.”)
Charged with involuntary manslaughter, child abuse and violating his probation on a previous drunken driving offense by drinking, Brown was ordered held without bond at an arraignment Friday.
Linberg said this tragic case is yet another reminder of the dangers of co-sleeping.
“Parents so need to exercise an awful lot of caution, you know, with their infants. Their airways are so small and it takes such little amounts to obstruct their airways,” the chief said. “You really need to fight the urge of just putting the babies in bed with them for the comfort or falling asleep with them in their arms.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 3,500 infants die in the U.S. each year from sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation. That number initially decreased in the 1990s after a national safe sleep campaign, but has plateaued in recent years.
AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment for infants include:
- Place baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
- Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and toys. The crib should be bare.
- Only bring your baby into your bed to feed or comfort.
- Never place your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa or armchair.
- Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
Learn more about safe sleeping from the AAP at this link.