A grieving mother whose 17-month-old daughter died while napping in a car seat is speaking out about her unbearable loss with hopes that it won’t happen to another family.
“On June 10, 2015, I got a call while I was at work. Mia didn’t wake up from her nap,” Lisa Smith told Today, describing the horrifying call she got from her daughter’s home daycare.
Fighting back tears, Smith told Today, “This was our beautiful little girl. Perfectly healthy in every way.”
“When they [doctors] came in and told us that she didn’t have any more brain activity,” explained Smith, “all I did was I turn to the doctor and said, ‘I know.'”
According to the news outlet, an investigation revealed that Mia died of mechanical or positional asphyxia. She was in the care of her longtime babysitter, who ran a licensed home daycare in Iowa, according to Dallas ABC news affiliate WFAA.
“Positional asphyxia is when the baby’s sleeping position prevents him or her from breathing adequately,” Dr. Natalie Azar, an NBC News medical contributor, told Today. “When a car seat is in the car, it’s reclined at 45 degrees. This allows the baby’s head and neck to rest backwards so that it’s not slumped forward and blocking the airway.”
Smith told WFAA that she didn’t let Mia sleep in her car seat because of the risks.
“Losing a child, it’s beyond soul-crushing,” she shared with Today. “The hardest part is that this was so easily prevented. And we lost a daughter needlessly. No family deserves this.”
Opening up to WFAA, Smith said that her daughter Mia was her “firstborn, our only child, and she didn’t deserve what happened to her. But other families don’t deserve this to happen to them either.”
Sharon Evans, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s Hospital, told WFAA that “there’s nothing about the car seat that’s designed [for] sleep,” and that “of course, if the straps aren’t tight, the child can kind of slump down.”
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, a nonprofit representing the juvenile products industry, told Today that children should not be left in their cat seats alone.
“How many parents do you think might not know this?” Smith said to WFAA. “Probably a lot.”
Smith said that when she walks around town and sees people using car seats at restaurants or putting them on the floor at tables, she “literally” walks up to them.
“I say, ‘You know, I had a daughter who was seventeen-and-a-half months who passed away and I just want you to be really careful.'” she told WFAA.