Heartbreaking last photo of baby boy who never woke up from nap

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A heart-wrenching picture of baby boy taken the day before he was found dead in his cot has been released by his mother.

Jessica, 33 and from Cleethorpes, has sent out the image as part of her ongoing bid to raise awareness about the sudden infant death syndrom (SIDS) that took her baby’s life.

The snap shows baby Ralph Wakefield giggling ecstatically as he crawls around in a multi-colour striped shirt.

The blue-eyed baby looks blissfully amused as he looks on in his elephant-shaped bib.

The mum-of-three was at work when the childminder for her son Ralph Wakefield called to say the six-month-old had failed to wake up from what they had thought was a “very long nap”, GrimsbyLive reports.

Ralph never woke up after being laid to sleep by his childminder

Jennifer and Stephen Wakefield lost their baby to sudden infant death syndrome in 2015

Ralph had shown no signs indicating he was at risk before being laid to sleep, and had not been born prematurely.

His mother had never smoked or drank during her pregnancy, all considered potential risk factors for SIDS.

Yet the loss of Ralph was described as “unavoidable” by professionals who calculate more than 200 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly every year.

Speaking four years on from the tragic death in September 2015 to raise awareness about the condition among north Lincolnshire parents, Jessica said: “He was put down for a nap at his childminder’s and when they went to check on him, he wasn’t waking up.”

The mum-of-three went on: “He did not fit the risk factor for SIDS.

The syndrome is said to affect mainly boys and six month olds

“I have never smoked, never drank while pregnant, didn’t co-sleep and he wasn’t born premature.

“The only two significant things which could have [made it happen] was simply because he was a boy – it’s more frequent in boys – and he was around the six months mark. There’s a slight spike in the risk of SIDS for babies who are around six-months-old.”

The NHS describes SIDS as a “sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby”, which usually occurs when a baby is asleep, but can occasionally happen while they’re awake.

SIDS is considered to be rare with a low chance of babies dying from it, however the risk increases in mums who smoke while pregnant or after a baby is born, and babies should always be placed on their back when they sleep.

The babysitter thought Ralph was in a ‘very long nap’

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Jennifer is now working with Grimsby and Cleethorpes SANDS, a stillborn and neonatal death charity, to raise awareness of SIDS.

She spent almost three years working with midwives at Hull Royal Infirmary to further their education on SIDS by sharing her real-life story, and has been working with various organisations including The Lullaby Trust, who provide expert advice on safer sleep for babies and offer emotional support for bereaved families.

In 2015, three deaths from SIDS were recorded in Yorkshire and Humber, including Ralph’s, and this increased to seven in 2016 before falling to one in 2017.

It’s Jennifer and The Lullaby Trust’s joint aim to half the number of babies who die of SIDS on a national level by 2020.

She added: “I’ve been into Hull hospital to speak with their midwives and share my story. I believe this benefited them because it gave them a real-life example of how SIDS can affect a person.

“I am aiming to do the same here, going into Grimsby’s  Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital  to speak with their midwives and work with SANDS. I’ll be starting this up after all the kids go back to school in September.

“The biggest and most important impact I can make is to continue talking about Ralph. It’s by doing this, raising awareness of SIDS and working with midwives and organisations, that more babies’ lives can be saved.”



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