Don’t Make This Fatal Car Seat Mistake
When Derek and Ali Dodd dropped off their infant son at a local day care, they had no reason to be concerned for his safety. Little did they know that a careless mistake would impact their family forever.
A Preventable Tragedy
Derek and Ali’s young son Shepard was in the care of an employee of the facility who regrettably placed the infant in his car seat to sleep rather than a crib. When the employee came back to check on Shepard two hours later, he had turned completely blue. A 911 call was placed but it was too late, their precious baby boy passed away.
A Silent Killer
Many parents are unaware that leaving your baby in a car seat or bouncer to rest can actually suffocate them if they’re not strapped in correctly. Ali and Derek learned this the hard way when their infant son Shepard died from “positional asphyxiation” while at the day care facility.
Derek shared the story with a local news outlet.
“I was able to kiss him on the forehead as they wheeled him in. He was cold. So I knew it was coming.”
Shepard died that day and there was nothing his parents could’ve done to stop it.
A Loss That Cannot Be Imagined
Babies die from positional asphyxia all the time, yet it’s something that very few people of aware of.
Now Ali and Derek’s family has shrunk by one, their older son is left without his baby brother and the holes in their hearts can never be repaired.
No One Would Know
Ali found out that the report failed to include their son’s death.
“What it says on there for our incident…it says she allowed a baby to sleep in a car seat. It doesn’t say anything about him dying. Even parents, wouldn’t even know that he died in her care.”
People were enrolling their children in a facility where a child had died under their care and they had no way of knowing.
The Biggest Shock
Ali explains that her family was even more devastated when they found out the same day care had been instructed on the dangers of putting children to sleep in car seats after a recent code violation.
“She knew better. She was counseled just days before by DHS. She had had a violation eleven days before.”
The day care remained open for months until they finally had their license revoked for undisclosed reasons.
They’re Not Alone
“She was strong,” said Jennifer Albright. “She was healthy. There was nothing wrong with her.”
Jennifer’s two-month-old daughter Emily passed away from positional asphyxiation just like Shepard but she was in her bouncy seat.
Now Jennifer looks at her scrapbooks to keep the memory of Emily alive. Her mistake was one that any parent could make.
It’s Easy To See
When your little one is slouched in their car seat like the in the image below, the airway can become blocked and the amount of oxygen reaching your baby’s lungs decreases drastically.
A newborn’s head is particularly heavy and it can’t support the neck in a way that allows air to flow unrestricted, so they suffocate slowly.
This type of infant death has also been linked to sleeping with your infants. The educational website Baby Your Baby warns that your newborn child needs to be in a safe, secluded sleeping environment.
“If baby falls sleep in your arms, on the couch, on pillows, etc., and you don’t have a crib handy and/or you need to leave the area or are falling asleep yourself – put the baby on his/her back on the floor. It is safer than the sofa or chair.”
More information is provided in the original report from KFOR below. (NOTE the video may not be viewable in some mobile browsers).
Remember this graphic on your next outing
Dedicated to Shepard, this popular Facebook page created an easy-to-follow anagram to make sure this preventable tragedy never happens to your family.
Remember the ABCDEF rule. Save this picture on your phone or computer and share to others with infants and small children in their lives.
Learn From Their Story
Next time you decide to skip the crib and let your little one rest in their car seat or bouncer, remember Shepard’s story.
Now Ali and Derek are dedicated to the mission of spreading the word about positional asphyxiation and lobbying for making sleeping standards a much higher priority in their home state of Oklahoma.
Take A Second
Derek urges other parents to think twice before letting their child sleep in their car seat.
“It’s not worth getting a little more sleep or 30 minutes more of quiet time. It’s just not worth it when it’s as dangerous as it is.”
If you have a habit of letting your child take a quick nap in their car seat, take a moment to get them tucked into their bed and give them a big kiss goodnight. You’ll know they’re safe and you’ll both be able to sleep much better.