The death of this baby serves as a stark warning to all of us.
“I woke up at around 4.30am and saw that Leia-Mai was not breathing and her lips had turned blue.”
“I took her out of the swing, gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and dialled 999.”
“When the paramedics arrived I pleaded with them to get my baby to breathe.”
These are the heartbreaking words from a mother who couldn’t save her child.
The death of a three-month old girl in UK has reminded us of the dangers facing our infants – some in ways that many of us take for granted to be safe.
Last June 12-week old Leia-Mae was given her nighttime bottle and placed in a baby bouncer. She had spent the day shopping with her mother and two siblings for Father’s Day presents. Her exhausted mother fell asleep on the couch.
When 24-year old mother, Danielle Jones from Gloucestershire in the UK woke up at 4am her baby daughter Leia-Mai Smith was unresponsive.
The desperate mother-of-three attempted mouth-to-mouth and called paramedics but tragically it was too late.
In a statement she said,
“It all seemed so unreal, like a bad dream, and I thought I would suddenly wake up and it would all be okay.
I love my children dearly and live every day with this pain.
She may just have been a baby but she was my baby.”
An inquest in the UK into the death of the three-month old came just days after a warning in the The Journal of Pediatrics which found that “sitting devices” like car seats, swings, and bouncers can lead to injury and even death if babies are allowed to sleep in them.
Researchers examined the deaths of 47 young children under the age of two, all of which occurred while in a device made for sitting or carrying.
Two-thirds of the deaths occurred in car seats, while the rest occurred in slings, swings, bouncers, and strollers.
Asphyxiation (positional or strangulation) was the cause of death in 46 cases; 52 percent of the deaths were caused by strangulation from the device’s straps.
One of the studies authors, Dr. Batra said “Many parents use sitting or carrying devices, not realizing that there are hazards when they do this.”
The study showed that the time from when the infants were last seen alive to when they were discovered ranged from as little as four minutes to up to 11 hours.
Dr Batra said that babies should only ever sleep in a crib. He says to never, ever take a car seat out of the car to let your child sleep.
It is a frightening study. How many of us have allowed our babies to sleep in car seats or swings, even just for a short nap while we tended to dinner, or helped our older children?
The study did make this claim: “It is important to note that an infant in a properly positioned car seat, in a car, with properly attached straps is at little risk from a suffocation injury. However, contrary to popular belief, the restraints and design of infant sitting or carrying devices are not intended for unsupervised sleeping.
What experts need to remember when they sound off about these warning is that mothers shouldering the incredible responsibilities of parenting don’t want to feel like they should be chained to their homes.
While on one hand the warnings make us all feel guilty, on the other hand we all want to do the utmost we can to prevent further deaths like that of Leia-Mae.
What we need to do is spread the word on how to use swings, bouncers and car seats safely.
The authors give us these tips for when you do use swings or car seats:
(1) Do not leave children unsupervised (awake or asleep);
(2) Never leave children in a car seat with unbuckled or partially buckled straps;
(3) Car seats should never be placed on a soft or unstable surface;
(4) Infants in bouncers, strollers, and swings may be able to manoeuvre into positions that could compromise their airway; straps on these devices may not prevent infants from getting into hazardous situations;
(5) Ensure that infants cannot twist their heads into soft bedding or slump forward in a seat; restraints should be used according to manufacturer’s instructions;
(6) Slings are particularly hazardous because of their design and the ease with which an infant’s airway can be collapsed. If used, the infant’s face should be “visible and kissable” at all times; and
(7) Do not place more than one infant together in a swing meant for one infant.
For more on how to keep your baby safe visit KidsSafe.
Have you let you baby sleep in the car seat or a bouncer unattended?