Child dies after mother drinks ‘two-three’ bottles of liquor and falls asleep holding them

The child died after the mother drank ‘two-three’ alcohol and fell asleep holding the six-month-old child

  • Father reaches home from work to see child’s ‘lifeless body’
  • Report found professionals accepted mother’s drinking issues were ‘under control’

A safety report has found that a six-month-old baby died after his mother drank ‘two or three’ bottles of alcohol and fell asleep holding them.

Father arrives home from work midway to find baby’s ‘apparently lifeless’ body Sleeping mother and arm of chair.

Despite efforts to revive the child, he died two days later.

After the tragic death of the baby, the mother, whose history was ‘chaotic’ Liquor abuse’, said she had drunk up to three bottles of alcohol and fell asleep holding the child.

Details of the child’s death have been released in a report published by the Derby and Derbyshire Children’s Safeguarding Board.

A report published by Derby and Derbyshire Children’s Safeguarding Board has released heartbreaking details of the child’s death.

It found that the child, referred to as Baby A, had suffered ‘preventable harm’ and had ‘died from oxygen deprivation to the brain as a result of unprotected sleep, neglecting an important feature of the case’ .

The report found that Baby A’s mother had a history of substance abuse linked to times of stress, including when she underwent fertility treatment for her first pregnancy.

The woman, who also had one child, had received medications for depression and anxiety in the middle of her pregnancy, but stopped the medication when she learned she was expecting Baby A.

The report states that she told a specialist substance abuse midwife that she did not drink, but it was later revealed that she drank and smoked while pregnant.

After giving birth, she was again prescribed medication for anxiety and bad mood.

The woman told multi-agency professionals during check-ups that she was struggling to care for both her newborn and toddler and had occasionally denied drinking while admitting ‘heavy’ use on others.

At one point, the mother’s sister filed her missing report along with two of the children.

Her husband also called the police to report that she had been drunk and driving with their young children in the car.

A professional even observed her drinking while she was making a cup of tea with no other adults present in the household.

The mother was ‘confronted’ by professionals about the alleged incidents but the report said she readily accepted what he told her about being ‘in control’ of her drinking.

However, no risk assessment was carried out, despite warnings by the authorities, to suggest that there could be a potential danger to children due to his ‘chaotic, and therefore potentially risky, use of alcohol’.

The report found that while Baby A’s father presented a picture of ‘persistent, heavy drinking’ over a number of years, this was ‘very different from the picture presented by Baby A’s mother herself.’

The report found that professionals should not have taken ‘mum’s script’ about his drinking habits at face value and instead should have investigated further.

It found: ‘If the information revealed after Baby A’s death had been shared earlier in full it could have shaken professionals’ confidence that this baby was safe and prompted more assertive safeguarding action. ‘

A key failure highlighted was poor communication between the agencies involved with Baby A and the mother, which could have led to the risks being ‘unrecognized and underestimated’.

The report was republished by the Safety Board to look at how lessons can be learned to prevent future losses.

One lesson identified was that professionals should not rely on the caregiver’s account of the amount and frequency of alcohol or drug use.

The report found that between January 2018 and December 2020, five babies died in Derbyshire where abuse or neglect was found to be a cause.

Another six young children suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of abuse or neglect.