Mom suffocates baby while co-sleeping, and it’s not her first time, NC police say

A sleeping habit considered dangerous for infants by some medical experts led to the death of a baby in North Carolina, authorities said.

The infant, who was found unconscious and not breathing by officers on Oct. 3, was pronounced dead after responders couldn’t revive the baby, according to a March 7 Wilmington Police Department news release. Now, the baby’s mother, Mackenzie Katlyn Reed, has been charged in her child’s death.

During the monthslong investigation by police and the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office, investigators determined the infant suffocated while co-sleeping with Reed, authorities said.

But it wasn’t the first time a child of the 24-year-old’s died, according to police. In 2022, another child Reed co-slept with died, police said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents sleep in the same room as their child for the first six months, but not in the same bed, according to its 2022 safe sleep guidelines. Instead of co-sleeping — also known as bed-sharing — the academy strongly encourages the use of cribs or bassinets “without soft toys, pillow, blankets or other bedding.”

About 3,500 babies die because of sleep-related issues every year, according to the organization. Putting infants in unsafe sleeping environments — such as sharing the same bed as a parent — can increase their risk, the academy said.

Reed was arrested on charges of involuntary manslaughter, child abuse with serious injury and child abuse/neglect with serious physical injury on March 6, according to New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office jail records.

Reed was booked at the New Hanover County Detention Facility and is being held on $500,000 bond as of March 8, according to jail records.

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