Coroner: More infants are dying from cosleeping

The Tippecanoe County coroner warns against cosleeping.
The Tippecanoe County coroner warns against cosleeping.

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – The Tippecanoe County coroner is reporting an alarming increase in deaths associated with cosleeping.

“This is not a natural death. This is not a homicide or a suicide. It is an accident, a very tragic one,” coroner Donna Avolt said.

A death no parent wants to face, the death of their infant.

“Since the first of the year I can think of five to six right off the top,” Avolt said about the number of infant deaths. “These are infants, these are the little guys.”

In 2013 that number was only one or two deaths for the entire year. Avolt said several infants have died from asphyxiation due to cosleeping, or sharing a bed or sleeping on the couch with their parent.

“I have children, I have grandchildren and you’re tired. You are absolutely exhausted and it’s very easy to go well I’m just going to put the child down next to me and maybe I can get a little extra sleep and it doesn’t work that way,” Avolt said. “It truly doesn’t. You have got a tragedy in the making.”

“The parent can be tired,” Franciscan St. Elizabeth Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Director Marcia Cherry said. “They’ve had a long day at work, they’re going to roll over and they’re going to accidentally suffocate the child or the child can be entrapped. They can be caught in between the side of the couch or the chair.”

Cherry said babies need to sleep in their own cribs.

“You want to put them on their back for every sleep that they have no matter what,” Cherry said. “You don’t want lose blankets in the bed. You don’t want any stuffed animals that they could come up against and be suffocated, so you always want them on their back.”

In hopes of avoiding another tragic death in Tippecanoe County. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, off topic, or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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