Investigation continues in death of Rowan newborn & lt;br & gt;Agency cautions parents against sleeping with infants

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Shavonne Potts

Salisbury Post

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Department continues to look into the death of a 7-day-old Rockwell infant.

Tanner Chapman was found unresponsive by his father, Bryant Chapman, on Dec. 7.

According to Sheriff’s Lt. John Sifford, the infant was in the bed with his parents, Amber Reavis, and Bryant, who reside at 134 Wingate Lane.

Bryant Chapman was heading out to work when he discovered his son. The father tried to perform CPR and called 911.

The infant was sent for an autopsy and other details of the child’s death have not been released.

Investigators have not said if the parents accidentally rolled over on the child.

This is the second infant death in a matter of weeks.

A Salisbury woman was charged with the death of her 26-day-old infant who was lying beside her on a couch.

Shannon Elizabeth Anderson, 22, of Faith Road was charged with second degree murder in the death of Matthew Gabriel Brown.

Parent education service providers urge parents against allowing children to sleep in the same bed.

Carolyn Morgan, a coordinator with Parents as Teachers, a program funded by Smart Start Rowan, said the question of having a child sleep with a parent always comes up.

“The safest place is in their own bed or bassinet,” she said.

Although whether to allow an infant or toddler to sleep with the parents is the parents’ decision, Morgan said instructors encourage parents against that idea.

“It’s OK if the bed or bassinet is in the room with the parents,” she said.

Although she doesn’t advocate parents letting their infants sleep in the same bed with them, Morgan does say if parents insist on letting an older child sleep with them they put a buffer between them.

She said some parents do let older children who might be sick sleep in the same bed, which is the only exemption she would consider.

“We always stress the back sleep to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” Morgan said.

Placing infants on their back to sleep is one of the most important pieces of advice instructors provide, she added.

Another suggestion instructors make to parents is to remove stuffed animals and bumper pads from cribs and bassinets.

She said parents find that bumper pads make the crib look nicer, but an infant can get entangled in them.

Also to not allow infants to sleep in car seats. Morgan counsels that it’s OK if the child is riding in the car because they are more upright. However, she does not encourage parents to let infants just sleep in a car seat that is, for instance, on the floor because the child can slump over and not be able to breathe.

Certified parent educators provide home visits to Parents as Teachers program participants. The curriculum they provide is geared to the age of the child.

Children are served until their 5th birthday and participants can begin the program prenatality or at 1 year old.

Morgan said the majority of the parents who participate in the curriculum are teenage mothers, adoptive mothers, grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren and some single fathers.

“We place a big emphasis on working with teens,” she said.

The program is open to anyone in Rowan and Cabarrus counties.

Parents as Teachers is a United Way program that is funded by Smart Start Rowan.

For more information about Parents as Teachers and other Adolescent Family Enrichment Council programs, call 704-630-0481.