Ali and Derek Dodd recently lost their 11-week-old son, Shepard, after he was put to sleep at daycare in a car seat. According to reports, one of the Oklahoma daycare workers put Shepard in an unbuckled car seat to nap. After two hours, she returned and found the child unresponsive and blue in the face.
The workers at the daycare performed CPR on the baby for nearly two hours, but they were not able to save him. Derek Dodd said that when he arrived at the hospital, he was able to kiss his son on the forehead as they brought him in. He noted that the child was ice cold, and he knew then what the outcome would be. The Dodds later learned that the daycare center had received a citation from the Department of Human Services just a couple weeks before Shepard’s death.
The citation showed that the daycare owner had specifically been warned about the dangers of letting babies sleep in car seats only 11 days prior to the baby’s death. Doctors believe that Shepard died as a result of positional asphyxia, which occurs when babies are put into sleeping positions that cause their airways to close. Babies as young as Shepard don’t have enough strength to lift their heads so they can breathe. According to the Fetal Infant Mortality Review Board, in the last five years, 107 babies in the Oklahoma City area have died as a result of unsafe sleeping arrangements. Of those 107 babies, about 5 percent died after being placed in a car seat to sleep. Experts have warned parents about the fatal side effects of allowing babies to sleep in car seats.
No matter what the circumstance, they recommend putting babies on their backs to sleep. The Dodds are also taking steps to warn other parents about the dangers of letting babies sleep unsupervised in car seats. They are working to implement legislature that will set specific guidelines to make babies sleeping arrangements safer.