After a Simple Daycare Mistake Killed Her Baby, Mom Makes an Urgent Plea to Parents

mom warning about daycare
Erin Lynn/Facebook

It's been 13 months since Erin's baby girl unexpectedly died while at daycare, and this grieving mom needs parents to know that what happened to Susannah wasn't a "freak accident." The mistake that took her 6-month-old's life was completely preventable, and this Minnesota mom wants people to understand that it can happen to anyone -- whether you send your child to daycare or not.

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When it was time for a nap on that tragic day, a daycare provider put Susannah in a car seat, fastened the chest straps without tightening them, placed the car seat on the bed, and then left the room. "In that time, Susannah scooted down in her car seat and caught her neck on the chest strap. She was strangled," Erin wrote on Facebook. "This was someone who had been trained in safe sleep practices and knew car seats were not safe for sleep, but she used it for that anyway out of convenience." 

baby dies in daycare
Erin Lynn/Facebook

Erin knows that many parents, including herself, let babies sleep in car seats after they fall asleep during a ride. However, she's pleading with parents to realize that just because your babies wake up unharmed doesn't mean they will the next time you let them snooze in their seats.

"You may feel this way because you did it, and your baby was fine too. What happened to Susannah won't happen to your daughter, or son, or grandchild, or niece, nephew ... She'll be fine," she wrote. "Until she's not."

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For those who use car seats for nap time outside of the car or let little ones stay napping if they nodded off during a drive, Erin wants them to understand that their babies can die without their even realizing it. "Strangulation isn't the only danger either. Babies do not have great neck strength and can also fall victim to positional asphyxiation (PA)," she wrote. "And supervision is not a safeguard; PA kills silently and quickly."

Erin doesn't want any other parents to ever get the horrific call that they need to rush to the hospital immediately, only to get there and be told that their baby has died.

"You hold your dead child for hours in a quiet hospital room. You have to leave your little girl there, knowing she'll never come home again," she wrote. "She has a heavenly birthday in addition to her regular birthday, which leaves you feeling so lost because you don't know what to do on either day. You deal with extreme guilt over decisions you made, convinced you are the reason she's gone and that some people secretly feel that way too. You have to learn how to properly answer, 'How many kids do you have?'"  

To honor Susannah, Erin asks that everyone help to make sure another baby isn't killed because of this simple mistake. "Don't leave them in the car seat once they're out of the car, especially if they're sleeping! I know it's hard, especially for tired mamas, but please remove them," she wrote. "A shortened nap is far less regretful than a shortened lifetime."

baby strangled by car seat in daycare
Erin Lynn/Facebook

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For parents who send their babies to daycare, Erin pleads that you not only use a licensed provider but also ask questions to ensure they follow strict safe sleep guidelines. "Ask about their safe sleep practices before you select a provider, demand to see the sleeping space, and make surprise visits to make sure the guidelines are being followed," she wrote. "You're not being nit-picky, bitchy, or overreacting. You're protecting your child and the safety of all the other children there too."

As Erin works to find meaning in her daughter's death, she hopes that no other parent joins her on this painful journey. "Honor my girl and your little loved ones. Please love them enough to make sure they sleep safely, in their own crib, on their back, no blankets, no bumpers, no stuffed animals," she wrote. "If one life is saved, I will feel so much joy."

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