There is very little more heartbreaking than experiencing the death of a child. There are the feelings of guilt and sorrow and the endless questions of what might have been. When the loss of a child is caused by something preventable, often the pain is coupled with a drive to help other families avoid the same tragedy.
Maura and Sam Hanke know this feeling all too well. Their son, Charlie, is the namesake for their safe sleep awareness foundation, Charlie's Kids. Here's their story in their own words:
These were wonderful parents who clearly loved their son and wanted the best possible life for him. This father didn't know that he was putting his son at risk by falling asleep with him on the couch--something many of us have done with our own babies. Now, he and his wife are using their story to help educate other parents on the dangers of unsafe sleep.
So yes, this really happens, and it happens to all kinds of people. Babies can and do suffocate, and every single time, it's heartbreaking. We know that new parents are exhausted, but the next time you think about lying down on the couch with your baby or don't want to move when he falls asleep with you in bed, remember Charlie and your ABCs: put your baby Alone on his Back in a Crib.
Learn more about safe sleep from Charlie's Kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.