Mother whose baby boy died while sleeping in her bed just four days after being born reveals police officers took away his clothes, nappies and bedding to check she hadn’t killed him
- Louise Barrett, from East Yorkshire, brought Ellis into her bed in February 2003
- Pair drifted off to sleep before she woke up to find him freezing cold and lifeless
- Mrs Barrett revealed heartbreak of waiting to find if she accidentally killed him
A mother has revealed her heartbreak after being made a suspect when her newborn child died inexplicably to a cruel condition in bed beside her.
Louise Barrett, from East Yorkshire, brought her baby boy Ellis into her bed to feed him during the night on February 26, 2003.
The pair drifted off to sleep before Mrs Barrett suddenly woke up in the middle of the night and ‘knew something was wrong’.
She placed her hand on his head to comfort him but was startled to find the youngster was freezing cold and lifeless.
The mother scrambled to give mouth-to-mouth to the four-day-old baby and screamed for her husband Sam to call an ambulance.
Louise Barrett, from East Yorkshire, brought her baby boy Ellis into her bed to feed him during the night on February 26, 2003
The content pair drifted off to sleep before Mrs Barrett suddenly woke up in the middle of the night and realised her baby boy was freezing cold
But Ellis had already died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which claims the life of 300 babies in the UK every year and 3,500 children in the US.
Mrs Barrett told the Mirror Online: ‘I just thought I need to make him breathe. I was trying to remember all the things I learnt in Girl Guides as a child.
‘But I couldn’t make him breathe and it was really frustrating. I suspect that he had probably been dead a while so I was never going to make him breathe.
‘It’s a very strange feeling knowing that you’re trying to bring somebody back to life and they’re just not coming back.’
When the paramedics arrived they took him straight to hospital with his parents following behind in the car.
The couple were taken into the family room at hospital and given the devastating news.
‘The doctor’s face said the whole thing. I looked at him and said “he’s dead, isn’t he” and he nodded. The rest of the day is a blur,’ Mrs Barrett said.
The family were given the opportunity to spend time with Ellis and say their goodbyes.
They invited loved ones who hadn’t got the chance to meet the newborn yet. Mrs Barrett said her son ‘looked perfect’ but wasn’t crying or moving.
While the family said their goodbyes the hospital was quickly transformed into a crime scene.
Police had to establish whether there had been any suspicious circumstances around the death.
Officers took away Ellis’s clothes, nappies and the couple’s bedding as evidence and a full postmortem was carried out on Ellis’ body.
Mrs Barrett was left in limbo as she waited to find out whether she had killed her own child.
Ellis died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which claims the life of 300 babies in the UK every year and 3,500 children in the US
Police officers took away the baby’s clothes as evidence and Mrs Barrett was left in limbo as she waited to find out whether she had killed her own child
She said there was a ‘relief’ in finding out her child hadn’t suffocated, but admitted she found it hard to hear it was SIDS, which has no known cause.
The mother shared her story to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, to shine a light on the cruel condition.
She revealed the family gave Ellis a touching send-off and went on to have another son, Alex, a year later.
Mrs Barrett admitted she didn’t bond with Alex, now 15, at the start as she kept ‘waiting for him to die’. She said she feared losing him so much that she didn’t want to get too close.
It took her weeks to shake that feeling, she revealed. The mother now an active campaigner for the Lullaby Trust, including fundraising events and speaking out to raise awareness.
The couple and their families have ran marathons and took part in bike races to raise money for the charity.
WHAT IS COT DEATH AND HOW CAN IT BE PREVENTED?
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or cot death, is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby.
SIDS kills around 3,500 babies in the US and just under 300 in the UK every year.
It usually occurs within the first six months of an infant’s life and is more common in those born prematurely or of a low birth weight.
The cause of SIDS is unknown, however, it is associated with tobacco smoke, tangled bedding, co-sleeping with parents and breathing obstructions.
Prevent the risk by:
- Placing sleeping babies on their backs
- Keeping babies’ heads uncovered
- Sleeping in the same room as babies for the first six months of their lives
- Using a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in babies’ cribs
- Breastfeeding, if possible
- Smoke during pregnancy or in the same room as a baby
- Sleep on a bed or chair with an infant
- Allow babies to get too hot or cold. Temperatures between 16 and 20C should be comfortable
Source: NHS Choices
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