A 6-month-old baby boy was smothered to death when his toddler brother crawled into his crib to next to him.
As the two slept, the toddler somehow smothered the infant, reports the Daily Mail.
According to Houston police, the tragedy occurred at the Jadestone apartment complex, which is described on its website as "close enough to downtown to allow you to experience everything that Houston has to offer, while not making you feel like you live in the chaotic downtown area."
Firefighters and police responded to the family's home around 7.20 p.m. on Dec. 5, where they found the infant unresponsive upon arrival.
According to police, the father put the infant in the crib and then put his 2-year-old son into a separate bed. But when he went to check on each of them about 30 minutes later, he found both children in the same crib.
The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine how the child died, but police are considering it an accident and do not suspect foul play, reports KTRK, according to the Daily Mail.
Due to the baby's age, the official cause of death might take longer than usual to determine, the station added.
Pat Tackitt, a pediatric mortality investigator for the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office in Michigan, has investigated more than 500 infant deaths, NPR reports.
In almost all of the cases, Tackitt says, she found that the baby was in an unsafe sleep environment. The baby may have been sleeping face down, may have been covered by a blanket or pillow, or may have gotten lodged between sofa cushions. In some cases, the baby was sleeping with a parent who rolled on top of the infant in the night.
Tackitt says these are all signs of accidental suffocation, not Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is defined as the sudden death of an infant under 1 year of age.
According to government statistics, more than 2,000 babies die of SIDS every year in the United States. However, many SIDS deaths are now believed to be accidents caused by unsafe sleep practices.
"There are some deaths that we cannot prevent. These are not those deaths," Tackitt says. "The vast majority of these are preventable deaths. There's been very, very few that we've seen that could not be prevented."
Pediatrician Rachel Moon of the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., concurs. "All the babies who died suddenly and unexpectedly have all died in unsafe sleep environments," says Moon regarding the cases seen at the Children's National Medical Center during the past several years. "These are all cases that could have been prevented."