- Mother had used soft toys to fill a narrow gap between toddler’s bed and a wall
- But she found youngster unconscious beneath a large teddy bear one morning
- She has now started a campaign to warn other parents of the potential dangers
A young mother has spoken of her heartache at finding her baby daughter had been suffocated in her sleep by a stuffed toy at the side of her bed.
Dexy Leigh Walsh discovered 18-month-old Connie Rose’s lifeless body in her bed with the giant teddy bear on top of her.
Despite desperate efforts to revive her, the baby was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived at Miss Walsh’s home in Dundee.
The 23-year-old said she had stuffed a narrow gap between Connie Rose’s bed and the wall with soft toys to stop her falling through and injuring herself.
But when she entered the bedroom which the baby shared with her five-year-old sister Dior, she found her underneath the large, 3ft-tall teddy and no longer breathing.
Speaking today, the 23-year-old mum described the horror of finding her daughter on the morning of March 6.
She said: ‘It was just a normal school morning. I went through to the girls’ room to waken them up and get Dior ready for school. When I opened the door all I could see of my little girl was her legs sticking out from under the teddy.
‘She was lying face facing up in the bed but with the big teddy on top of her. She wasn’t breathing. I immediately started CPR on her while someone phoned for an ambulance.
Miss Walsh explained that her daughter’s bed had a guard on one side, and she thought that stuffing the gap on other side with soft toys would stop Connie Rose from falling and injuring herself.
She added: ‘I have been blaming myself. I packed the side of the bed with the smaller teddies and place the big one on top thinking that would stop her falling down the side and hurting herself. She did slip down the side but ended up below the big teddy and couldn’t breathe.
‘I just think now that if I had taken away all the soft toys out of the bed at night, she may have fallen out. She may have only hurt herself. Maybe a broken arm but she would still be with us. I just think that what if I had done this or that instead – but it’s too late.’
Connie Rose was buried on March 21 and mourners released pink balloons into the sky in her memory.
Miss Walsh has now launched an online campaign, the Connie Rose Awareness Facebook page, in a bid to raise awareness of leaving cuddly toys in young children’s beds overnight.
She hopes other mothers will think before letting their children go to sleep surrounded by their favourite toys.
She added: ‘I know every mum wants their child’s bed to look wonderful. To be covered in toys and maybe princess drapes and that is good. And that is all right during the day but at night they should all be taken away. They don’t need anything on their bed when they go to sleep. Just a cover. They don’t even need a pillow.
‘I just hope that my little girls tragic story will help stop another family having to go through what we have.’
A spokesman for the Lullaby Trust, a charity working to prevent unexpected infant deaths, said: ‘The Lullaby Trust would like to extend its condolences to the family at this difficult time.
‘We advise that a baby’s sleeping space is kept as clear as possible, with no pillows, duvets, soft toys or cot bumpers.
‘Unnecessary items in a cot can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (Sids) if a baby’s head becomes covered. Items such as soft toys and cot bumpers can also increase the risk of accidents.
‘Our safer sleep advice relating to reducing the risk of Sids is relevant for babies under 12 months, after this age it is down to parental choice, but we are aware that some parents continue to follow safer sleep guidance after 12 months.’