New parents have always had to face an onslaught of unsolicited advice regarding how to best raise their child, but it seems that nowadays, much of that advice is wrapped up in controversy. Breastmilk versus bottle-feeding? Soothing a fussy baby versus letting them cry it out? To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? (Please, vaccinate.)

And while no one likes to be told how to raise their kids, the fact remains that certain principles are universal, especially regarding children’s health. So where do you draw the line between leaving certain decisions up to parents’ discretion and taking a stand for what you believe is right for someone else’s children?

That was certainly the situation surrounding one mother in the United Kingdom who had been warned repeatedly about the dangers of doing something with her young children that was not uncommon at all. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was totally harmless—but one judge thought otherwise.

One unnamed mother from Cambridgeshire in England had been given numerous warnings about co-sleeping with her children. She did this with both of her sons while they were under four years old.

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Unfortunately, her youngest son suffered injuries and bruises due to co-sleeping. And even though social workers asked her to discontinue the practice, she ignored them.

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That was the last straw. In a shocking move, the judge ordered the boys to be whisked away from their home and put up for adoption.

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The judge defended the drastic measures by claiming that the mother believed “only she knew best,” spending years ignoring professional advice.

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While this story may seem extreme, co-sleeping itself is far from unusual; approximately 80% of parents do it today. Yet the fact remains that there have been many deaths associated with it. Every parent with young children ought to carefully consider what’s best for their family before engaging in the practice.

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