London - A baby girl died after being put to bed in a car seat by her parents who then spent the evening drinking in a hotel bar, it emerged on Thursday.
The ten-week-old had only been out of hospital for a fortnight after being born 12 weeks premature.
The tragic case was outlined in a serious case review into the death of the girl – known as Child M – on a family holiday in July 2016.
The probe revealed that the parents, from Wigan, had left her in a hotel room along with her twin brother and a 13-month-old sibling at around 7.30pm.
The couple, who were known to social services and to have drug and alcohol problems, then went drinking at the hotel bar with their three other older children.
CCTV showed that they checked on the younger children at half-hour intervals before returning at 1am.
Child M was fed by the mother an hour and a half later, but was found dead in the car seat at 10am by her father, who had served a 30-month jail term for robbery and had mental health issues.
Paramedics were called but noticed signs of rigor mortis, which sets in as soon as four hours after death.
She was pronounced dead at 11.23am.
The report revealed that the parents had initially planned to put the twins to bed in their pram carry-cots but changed their mind because the cots were too heavy to take up the three flights of stairs to their room.
The twins were placed on a bed in their car seats instead.
Current advice states that babies should not be left in such seats for more than two hours at a time. Following the death, a serious case review was launched and the parents were investigated by police.
But blood samples taken the following day were in the "acceptable range" and no evidence of neglect was found. Although empty lager cans and beer bottles were later found in the couple’s room, the hotel manager told police that the couple were not "excessively intoxicated".
The report revealed the couple had given birth to another set of twins, who were born extremely prematurely at 26 weeks in June 2015.
One child died after three days and although the other survived, the surviving twin suffered from ‘complex’ health needs.
The twin subsequently passed away following an acute infection, three months after the death of Child M.
Child M and her sibling were born prematurely in May 2016. Child M had to be resuscitated at birth and weighed just 2lbs. Both babies spent their first eight weeks under neo-natal care.
A post-mortem on Child M was unable to ascertain a cause of death.
The review concluded that although there were "areas of multi-agency practice that could be strengthened" there was no "serious omission in practice that contributed to the death of Child M".
It continued: "The parents could not follow through on the plans to ensure Child M could sleep safely in the hotel and made the choice to place Child M to sleep in a car seat.
"This is one of the most significant risk factors in sudden infant death."