The heartbroken parents of a 2-month-old baby boy who suffocated while laying on his sleeping dad's chest have opened up in the hope their tragedy will warn others against the dangers of co-sleeping.

Carmine Martino, a 20-year-old from the US, was exhausted following a long day and decided to sit on the couch with his young son.

Placing him on his chest, Martino then drifted off to sleep. He awoke to tragedy.

While the 20-year-old father was sleeping his baby boy, Lucas John Martino, fell between his dad's arm and the couch and ended up being suffocated.

Advertisement

His mum Haley Gavrills, 20, had also taken the chance to get some sleep.

She woke up and went to check on her baby, who she assumed was in his cot. However after realising he wasn't there, she panicked and woke Martino up.

That's when they discovered Lucas' body on the couch in the early hours of November 26, 2017.

"I went closer to my partner to wake him up and said 'where's Lucas?'. He looked really confused," Gavrills said.

"He lifted up his arm and you could see Lucas's body between his arm and the arm of the chair.

"Lucas's body was lifeless. Carmine started doing CPR and I called 911 so the lady was telling us how to do it. I was screaming and screaming at them to get the ambulance which arrived 12 minutes later."

Carmine, 20, with his son Lucas. Photo / Facebook
Carmine, 20, with his son Lucas. Photo / Facebook

Despite frantic efforts to revive their beloved baby, Lucas was confirmed dead by paramedics.

Now the parents, who split up a month after Lucas' death, say they're haunted by the tragedy and want to tell their story to warn other parents of the dangers of co-sleeping.

Advertisement

"There was a lot of blame obviously - of course I blamed myself," Martino, from the US, told media.

"Being a father - it's my job to protect my family, my son and my girlfriend and I failed them. I was extremely angry with myself.

"The biggest thing was disappointment with letting my son down and my girlfriend down and all of our families. Everybody loved that little boy.

"I'm trying to make progress every day. There's no way to live with something like this and the images of performing CPR on him will haunt me forever.

"I'm trying my best to work through my grief, I know I have a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I'm not looking to forget what happened, I never want to forget what happened. It's learning to live with it, that's something I have to teach myself."

Baby Lucas suffocated after Carmine fell asleep exhausted. Photo / Facebook
Baby Lucas suffocated after Carmine fell asleep exhausted. Photo / Facebook

Gavrills also took to social media to express her sorrow and revealed she received hundreds of messages from parents saying they slept with their babies all the time but won't any more.

The heartbroken 20-year-old hopes her story will prevent the death of another baby.

"We were both aware of the potential dangers of falling asleep with the baby. I remember being very aware of it and speaking about it at the hospital.

"But people would say to me 'oh I fell asleep with my children and they were fine' and I think 'that's great but you're just lucky'.

"There are so many people out there who are not educated about this ... That's the scary part. If it happened to us then it could happen to so many other babies.

"There are also parents like us who are so tired. If you feel tired just put the baby down.

"I hope by sharing what happened it might help to save another child's life and Lucas won't have died in vain. I want to make his life as purposeful as possible by telling his story."