Clarke Jacob Aaronson of Wellington died Jan. 6, 2018, after sharing a bed with his mother.

WELLINGTON — Late on Jan. 5, 2018, Wellington mother Genna Aaronson fed her 5-week-old, then laid the blonde-haired, hazel-eyed little boy on a pillow in her bed. She put a blanket on him, then turned to watch a movie on her smartphone, she told Palm Beach County sheriff's authorities. 

She woke up six hours later to her husband's screams. Clarke Jacob Aaronson was blue and not breathing.

He died within the hour at Palms West Hospital. “Positional asphyxia," the Medical Examiner's Office ruled. In other words, the baby suffocated.

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Aaronson, now 33, was arrested Wednesday morning on a manslaughter charge in the death of her son. Sheriff's investigators determined as early as June that they had enough evidence to arrest her on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, arguing that she had put her son in "circumstances which led directly to (his) death."

During a hearing Thursday at the Palm Beach County Jail, Circuit Judge Dina Keever-Agrama said Aaronson can choose between in-house arrest or posting a $10,000 bond for her release.

Defense attorney Bradford Cohen called Aaronson's case "unusual" and stressed that she doesn't pose a threat to the public.

About a dozen people appeared in court on Aaronson's behalf. They declined to speak with reporters after the hearing.

Last year, Aaronson told sheriff's investigators that she and her husband alternated nights sleeping in the master bed with their newborn. Their other child was 5 at the time of Clarke's death, records show.

Aaronson said she and her husband had shared a bed with Clarke "since the day he was born."

Chris Lolley, the executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Florida, said experts recommend babies sleep alone on their backs in a crib — the ABCs of safe sleep. Parents should share a room, but not a bed, with their infants, he said.

State records indicate that medical professionals spoke with Aaronson about the dangers of co-sleeping less than a week before Clarke died. He had rolled out of his father's arms Dec. 31, 2017, onto a tile floor, while sharing a bed with his father. On Jan. 2, 2018, after calling the pediatrician, Aaronson took the baby to Palms West in Loxahatchee to be examined.

“Yet despite this, his parents continued to allow him to co-sleep with them,” the Florida Department of Children and Families report states. “Both parents were responsible for allowing him to sleep in an unsafe situation which ultimately caused his death.”

Clarke's father, Peter Aaronson, told authorities Clarke only cried for a minute after the fall. He told authorities that nothing on the CT scans indicated that Clarke had been injured.

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Sheriff's authorities have not commented on whether Clarke's father will face charges in the baby's death. When reached Wednesday by a Post reporter, Peter hung up. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Authorities drug-tested Peter Aaronson in January 2018 and he had marijuana in his system. However, it does not appear as if he faces criminal charges tied to that test. Genna Aaronson did not consent to be tested for drugs.

Nevertheless, in their report released last year, state child-welfare employees suggested the family undergo random drug screenings and as well as a substance-abuse counseling program, though the extent of their drug use — if any — is unclear from court, state and sheriff's office records.

Aaronson told authorities she vaped while pregnant, though records do not indicate what substance or how often. Records indicate she received mental-health treatment following her son's death.

A toxicology report did not show anything abnormal in Clarke's system at the time of his death.

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However, authorities argued that Aaronson showed "gross and flagrant disregard" for her little boy's safety. Despite having a bassinet for him in the parents' room, Clarke instead slept with one of his parents.

Babies are three times as likely to die from sleep-related complications when sharing a bed with an adult, said Dr. Shahriar Shahzeidi, a pediatric sleep specialist at West Boca Medical Center. He has seen a "dramatic" decrease in the number of sleep-related deaths in the years since the state began its education campaign regarding safe-sleep practices.

Sleep-related complications are the leading cause of deaths among Florida's children younger than 1, records show. Also, Shahzeidi stressed that infants should not be fed immediately before bed. Instead, he recommends that caregivers wait at least 20 minutes before putting their babies to sleep after a feeding. 

The Department of Children and Families’ website details safe sleep practices and links to local resources for caregivers throughout Florida.