A Florida woman arrested on manslaughter charges in the death of her 18 day old son is being held due to the fact that this is the second of her children to die in the same manner. 25 year old Erin Piche-Pitts of Winterhaven Florida is facing charges in the death of her infant due to co-sleeping. This isn’t the first time that Piche-Pitts has lost an infant child this way.
Repeated Warnings Flouted by Florida Woman Arrested for Infant Death
On October 6, 2016 Piche-Pitts woke to the sound of the baby crying and got up to prepare a bottle. She then took the child from the bassinet, which was located right beside the bed, and placed the child beside her, propped up on a pillow.
She soon fell asleep again, and when she awoke once more, she found the baby was unresponsive. This is the second child that she has lost in the same manner, the first being in December of 2009. She has been given multiple warnings by healthcare professionals and law enforcement officers about not repeating the same mistake that cost her first child its life.
The first victim was only 13 days old. This is also not the only incident which has gotten Piche-Pitts in trouble with the law. In July, the Winterhaven Florida woman was arrested for possession of meth. She was pregnant with the deceased child at the time. When police and paramedics arrived on the scene following her October 6 call, she simply said “it happened again.” The baby was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.
An Epidemic that Can be Avoided Easily
This case is indicative of a growing epidemic of infant deaths related to co-sleeping in the United States. The issue of how to calm and comfort children who require almost constant attention, and are difficult to get to sleep, has long been a concern for all parents. Moms and dads often turn to cuddling the infant in the comfort of the bed as a last resort.
Despite the fact that all healthcare professionals agree that having and infant in an adult size bed alone is dangerous enough, parents are usually exhausted from the sleep deprivation that comes with a toddler, choosing to abandon the battle with fatigue and place the baby next to them in bed. While bed sharing is common in many parts of the world, in the West it is generally frowned upon.
Professionals recommend parents to always place the child in a crib where there are no pillows or stuffed animals that could obstruct its airways.
The incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has exponentially increased in recent years. SIDS features many types of sleeping related causes of death including death by strangulation, suffocation, and complications of co-sleeping, as in the case of the Florida women arrested in Winterhaven.
Culpable Negligence Basis of Felony Charge
Culpable negligence due to the fact that this is the second death of a child in the care of Piche-Pitts, and the meth charges in July are the basis of the felony manslaughter charge. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said:
“This lady doesn’t get it. Due to her recklessness and disregard for instructions, her second child has died. She got a pass on the first one, even though there was negligence involved. But she didn’t get a pass on this one.”
The Florida woman arrested on December 20 will face a bail hearing on January 10. The husband, who was at home at the time of the child’s death, but not in the same room, has not been charged and is not expected to be.
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