A family in Omaha is mourning the tragic death of their 1-year-old baby, Chase Hunter, who died in February after strangling himself with the unbuckled seat belt of his car seat while napping at an unlicensed daycare. Although it was reportedly an accident, Elizabeth Harding, who runs the daycare, is in court battling against a potential 20-year jail sentence for negligent child abuse.
In hopes of learning a lesson from Chase’s absolutely tragic story, we looked to the experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics for safe sleeping tips.
According to the AAP, the safest place for a baby to sleep is in the room where the parents sleep but not in their bed. They also suggest placing babies on their backs for naps and at bedtime, avoiding letting babies get too hot while they sleep, and never letting them sleep on chairs, sofas, pillows — basically anything too soft that children can roll off of while sleeping.
Experts also agree that sleeping should happen in a crib, on a firm mattress, without bumpers, sheets or pillows that can potentially suffocate a sleeping child. Teddy bears that look cute in baby’s crib during the day should be taken out for bedtime. If you’re worried about whether or not something belongs in the crib while the baby is sleeping, err on the side of caution and remove it.
SafeKids.org also has some great tips on car seat safety that every parent should read.