A young Australian couple's world was turned upside down when they discovered their baby boy had died in his sleep, just four months after he was born.

Jayden Ward, of Adelaide, was sleeping in bed on Friday night with his son Bronlee by his side while his wife Dee-Jay was in hospital having surgery.

He woke up the next morning and opened up his eyes, only to discover his little boy wasn't breathing. It is believed baby Bronlee died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Dee-Jay and Jayden Ward are devastated by their loss. Photo / GoFundMe
Dee-Jay and Jayden Ward are devastated by their loss. Photo / GoFundMe

"I had looked over just to check him as I always do and I seen his chest wasn't moving," Mr Ward told news.com.au.

Advertisement

Mr Ward said it didn't click with him right away what was happening, until he touched Bronlee's forehead.

"I grabbed his forehead and felt it was stone cold. I had picked him up and I screamed 'bubba' multiple times," the heartbroken father said.

He then ran into his mother-in-law's room yelling for help.

Mr Ward tried to resuscitate his son for two minutes with the aid of a paramedic who ran through the steps of performing CPR over the phone.

"I didn't really feel anything at that point, I just wanted my son to be okay," he said.


"While counting the compressions I eventually lost it, crying."

The first response unit turned up and pulled the shattered father out of the room and took over, but sadly, baby Bronlee couldn't be saved.

"I still haven't and I don't know when I will accept that fact that he's not coming home, I'm still in shock," Mrs Ward said on a GoFundMe page set up to help the family with funeral costs.

Advertisement
Bronlee was a happy, healthy boy, his mum says. Photo / GoFundMe
Bronlee was a happy, healthy boy, his mum says. Photo / GoFundMe

Mrs Ward, who described her son as being a happy, healthy boy, had received the devastating news while she was still in hospital.

"I struggled to get the courage to tell her," Mr Ward said. "The whole ride to the hospital a million scenarios ran through my head, and it was still probably one of the hardest things I had done."

Mr Ward said it was "heart wrenching" every time he thought about having to tell his wife of the tragedy, as he still hears the pain in her voice.

At first Mrs Ward didn't understand what was happening when her mother and Mr Ward entered her hospital room until they said to her "I'm sorry" and that's when she "dropped to the floor and kept saying 'no, no, no' repeatedly".

The grieving mother said it was the "worst day of my life".

The cause of Bronlee's death is unknown as the coroner's report found the reason for his death was inconclusive.

"Preliminary reports are suggesting SIDS as the report had come back inconclusive," Mr Ward told news.com.au.

It is thought that Bronlee died from sudden infant death syndrome. Photo / GoFundMe
It is thought that Bronlee died from sudden infant death syndrome. Photo / GoFundMe

So far more than A$7000 has been raised to help the family lay their baby boy to rest.

"I just want to thank everyone again through these hard last few days, you have no idea how much this means to us," Mrs Ward, who is still in hospital recovering from surgery, wrote on the GoFundMe page.

"At the moment it's covered the first part of our funeral and we can still work out the second part! Again thank you for helping Bronlee have the beautiful send off that he's going to have.

"The amount of love and support we have received we will forever be grateful for and no one will ever understand how much it means to us and how much we appreciate it."

Mum's heartbreaking message to son

In an emotional Facebook post, Mrs Ward shared a family photo of her husband and baby boy alongside the words: "I hope your still smiling away in heaven baby boy, I'm so happy you passed peacefully in your sleep my baby boy, I'm glad you never felt pain, anger or sadness! "You were and alway will be the light of our life's (sic)."

The grieving mother had posted previous images of her son, hugging him, kissing him and showing off his adorable dimples.

Jayden and Dee-Jay with Bronlee when he was a newborn. Photo / GoFundMe
Jayden and Dee-Jay with Bronlee when he was a newborn. Photo / GoFundMe

"For the rest of my life at least I know I'm going to have you to love and to be loved by back, I'm going to be the best mum for you and promise to give you the life you deserve. "You are the light of my life, my happiness and my favourite part of every minute of every day. I'll always love you endlessly … thank you for completing my life and making everyday worth it," one of her Facebook posts from May read.

Mr Ward told family and friends to "hold their child close, no matter their age".

"Give them the biggest kiss and cuddle you can. You never know when it may be your last," he wrote in a separate Facebook post.

Raising awareness

The parents are now hoping to raise awareness for SIDS.

"We're wanting parents to do research, to understand what you can about SIDS," Mr Ward said.

"If we can help raise enough awareness and prevent even just one family from going through this pain, it will help ease us."

How to keep your baby safe

Sudden unexpected death is a risk to babies until they are about 12 months old, but most deaths can be prevented.

The Ministry of Health in New Zealand says you can help to keep your baby safe by making sure that your baby is in their own bed for every sleep (and in the same room as you or the person looking after them at night) and making sure that your baby is on their back for every sleep.

To keep your baby safe while sleeping, make sure:

• they always sleep on their back to keep their airways clear

• they are in their own bassinet, cot or other baby bed (eg, pēpi-pod or wahakura) – free from adults or children who might accidentally suffocate them

• they are put back in their own bed after feeding – don't fall asleep with them (to protect your back, feed your baby in a chair rather than in your bed)

• they have someone looking after them who is alert to their needs and free from alcohol or drugs

• they have clothing and bedding that keeps them at a comfortable temperature – one more layer of clothing than you would wear is enough; too many layers can make your baby hot and upset them

• they are in a room where the temperature is kept at 20°C

You can check that your baby is warm but not too hot by feeling the back of their neck or their tummy (under the clothes). Baby should feel warm, but not hot or cold. Your baby will be comfortable when their hands and feet are a bit colder than their body.

A baby in a wahakura, designed to help baby sleep safely. Photo / File
A baby in a wahakura, designed to help baby sleep safely. Photo / File

Baby's bed is safe when:

• it has a firm and flat mattress to keep your baby's airways open

• there are no gaps between the bed frame and the mattress that could trap or wedge your baby

• the gaps between the bars of baby's cot are between 50 mm and 95 mm – try to get one with the gaps closer to 50 mm if you can

• there is nothing in the bed that might cover your baby's face, lift their head or choke them – no pillows, toys, loose bedding, bumper pads or necklaces (including amber beads and 'teething' necklaces)

• baby has their feet close to the end of the bed so they can't burrow under the blankets

• baby is in the same room as you or the person looking after them at night for their first 6 months of life

It is never safe to put your baby to sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on a chair.

If you choose to sleep in bed with your baby, put them in their own baby bed beside you – for example, a pēpi-pod or wahakura. This may help to reduce the risk of your baby suffocating while they are asleep.

For more information go to the Ministry of Health or the Pēpi-pod safe sleeping programme.