It’s every parent’s worst nightmare and wished not to happen. On April 6, 2015, just hours after dropping off her 11-week-old son Shepard at daycare, a mom from Oklahoma, Ali Dodd received a frantic call from the woman who ran the program and told her that her baby wasn’t breathing, and EMTs were performing CPR at their licensed in-home facility.
(a)According to the police report, Shepard was put to sleep in an unbuckled car seat and placed on the floor in a room, unsupervised.
The daycare operator checked on Shepard two hours after he went to sleep, and he was reportedly blue.
Derek and Ali Dodd wouldn’t see their son alive again.
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(a)By the time Dodd and her husband, Derek, arrived at the hospital, it was too late. Shepard was gone. “I kissed him all over his face and apologized hundreds of times,” the physical therapist, 33, tells Us. “When your child dies, you wish you could die.”
Another report shows that the daycare operator and provider had been warned about unsafe sleeping conditions the week before Shepard Dodd died in her home.
(a)Shepard’s mom and dad believe his death was 100 percent preventable.
According to the Fetal Infant Mortality Review board, in the past five years, 107 Oklahoma City-area babies have died because of unsafe sleeping conditions. Of those 107 deaths, more than five percent were put to sleep in a car seat, bouncer or infant rocker.
This is what happened to Shepard when he was swaddled and then placed, unbuckled, in a newborn bucket car seat for two hours without any supervision.
While the infant was sleeping, Dodd says his head fell down into a chin-to-chest position, and without the muscle strength to lift his neck, he suffocated. Shepard’s official cause of death was positional asphyxiation.
“When you lose a baby, you lose their whole life,” Dodd tells Us. “You lose birthdays. You lose Christmases. You lose kindergarten and the first day of school. You lose everything.”
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Meanwhile, the Dodds remember Shepard every day. “When we were planning Shepard’s funeral, we were toying around with the idea of not wearing black, and that’s when our oldest, Presley, goes, ‘Well, everyone knows that Shepard’s favorite color was green!’” recalls Dodd.
(a)“So we all wore green, and we’ve worn green every day since Shepard’s passing. That’s how we thought of Esmé’s name — Esmé can be short for Esmeralda, which means Emerald.”
The Dodd family created Shepard’s Watch to help spread awareness about safe sleep habits for babies. Recently, Senate Bill 1273, which is known as ‘Shepard’s Law’ passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
(a)The bill requires that child care centers and family child care homes not use soft or loose bedding, including blankets, in sleeping equipment or in sleeping areas that are used for infants.
Homes would also be prohibited from allowing toys or educational devices in sleeping areas for infants.
Do you think the toddler’s death could have been prevented? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. For more updates on the latest happenings, feel free to follow us on Facebook.
(a)Do you think the toddler’s death could have been prevented? As a parent, what you should do? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. For more updates on the latest happenings, feel free to follow us on Facebook.
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