Eight-month-old twins who died in Baker last week suffocated after being swaddled and placed in a crib with thick bedding, according to autopsy results.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark determined London and Paris Collins died of positional asphyxia on April 3. He said the father of the girls swaddled them in blankets and laid them on top of pillows on their sides, facing each other.
“Eventually during the sleeping process, they rolled face down, which put them in a precarious situation for positional asphyxia,” Clark said, adding the deaths were ruled accidental. “It’s very tragic.”
Positional asphyxia occurs when a person’s position prevents adequate breathing. Clark said the deadly condition is often associated with co-sleeping — babies sleeping with parents or siblings — and unsafe bedding.
Clark noted the twins’ crib contained thick bedding, bumper pads, adult-sized pillows and blankets. Based on the autopsies, Clark estimated there was about a four- to six-hour difference in their times of death.
Clark said he called a few coroners across the state to see if they had ever experienced a similar case involving twin infant deaths. “Nobody really has ever had one like that,” he said.
Casey Rayborn Hicks, an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said no charges are pending in the case.
Efforts to reach the twins’ parents — Asia Wright and Quentaindale been held Wednesday morning.
Experts said the deaths highlight the importance of placing swaddled infants on their backs to sleep.
“We always want them on their backs with nothing additional in the crib,” said Angela Hammett, a registered nurse who is the coordinator of perinatal education at Woman’s Hospital. “We don’t want comforters, blankets, stuffed animals, bumper pads — none of that.”
Dr. Rachel Dawkins, assistant professor of pediatrics at LSU Health Sciences Center, said it is important to make sure babies are snug when swaddled. Another rule of thumb, she said, is to keep the room cool and not use a thick blanket.
Dr. Rebekah E. Gee, an assistant professor at the LSU Health Sciences Center who serves as the state’s Medicaid medical director, said swaddling can be comforting for babies because it mimics the feeling of being inside the womb. But, she said, older babies don’t need to be swaddled as much as younger ones.
Separate cribs for twins are probably better “unless they’re really little,” Gee added. She also recommends parents check with their pediatrician before buying any bedding or related items. Collins — by telephone were unsuccessful late Wednesday. An obituary for the babies said funeral services were to have