Baby dies after falling asleep with mum on sofa before slipping underneath her

A newborn baby died after slipping underneath her mum as they fell asleep on the sofa, an inquest heard.

Lilly-Marie Tina Harris was just six-weeks-old when the tragedy happened after her mother bottle-fed her at the family home in Woolwich, south east London.

Both parents fell asleep in the same room on the evening of February 1, 2021.

But during the night the father woke up and realised there was something wrong with his daughter.

He called paramedics at around 3am and they took her to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, the hearing was told on Friday.

A CT scan revealed the baby had suffered “a severe hypoxic insult to her brain” and was pronounced dead late the following morning.

Speaking at London Inner South Coroner’s Court, Coroner Fleur Hallett ruled that Lilly-Marie’s death was an accident.

She said: “Lilly’s father had been in the same room as Lilly and her mother.

“Lilly had had a feed and had fallen asleep in her mother’s arms.

“He had then fallen asleep and at some point Lilly’s mother had fallen asleep.

“He then woke with a start and could not see that Lilly’s mother was holding her anymore.

“He went over and saw that Lilly had slipped underneath her mother. He immediately woke Lilly’s mother up.”

Lilly-Marie was kept on intubation and ventilation and transferred to Evelina Children’s Hospital in Westminster, but doctors were unable to resuscitate her.

Both a paediatric and a forensic pathologist agreed that the cause of death was “generalised and diffuse ischemia affecting the brain and spinal cord following an unsafe sleeping environment involving close sleeping with an adult”.

The Coroner added: “Given the facts and the evidence we have heard I do believe, on the balance of probabilities, that it is appropriate to return a conclusion of accident.

“That is because baby Lilly-Marie fell asleep in her mother’s arms. Lilly-Marie’s mother also fell asleep and at some point in the following two-and-a-half hours, she slipped down underneath her mother.”