A grieving Washington mom is warning other parents about the dangers of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) after her seven-month-old son suffocated after a blanket was left in his crib.
It was Monday morning when Jordan DeRosier discovered her son Sloan’s lifeless body in his crib with a blanket wrapped around his head. The next day DeRosier took to her Facebook account to share her warning and message.
Initially, she says, she didn’t want to explain the detailed circumstances of her son’s accidental death because she feared guilt and condemnation from others.
However, after some social media users began blaming vaccines for her child’s death, she felt the need to speak up and educate others.
She began by detailing the events leading up to the accident.
“[Sloan] was last laid down to bed with his blanket made by his great-great-grandmother, and one other blanket, a grey one he had been attached to since birth,” she recounted. “He had pulled [the grey one] through the crib rails somehow and gotten himself stuck in it.”
DeRosier explained that because Sloan was crawling and standing on his own and climbing, she thought that he would be safe with the blankets in his crib.
“You never think it will happen to you,” she continued. “You never think it will be your baby. Please do not put your babies to bed with a blanket. Please.”
Attached to her post is a photo of a crying DeRosier beside her eldest son Rowan, grasping the grey blanket that had been found around Sloan’s head.
“This is the face of immense, unfathomable grief, the fact of longing, of heartbreak, of self-inflicted guilt,” DeRosier wrote. “I will never stop feeling responsible. I will relive this for the rest of my life knowing exactly what I could have done differently.”
She ends her message with a plea to parents: “Please learn from my world-shattering mistake.”
DeRosier’s post has been shared over 16,700 times as of Friday morning.
And it seems as if DeRosier’s post is resonating with other social media users, who have both heeded her message, as well as offered words of condolences and support.
“I am so sorry for your tragic loss. This couldn’t have happened to anyone [and] I’m sorry it happened to you and your baby,” Jilleen Connolly-Nordt commented on Facebook. “No more blanket for Belle. We’ll get some wearable ones this weekend like when she was little.”
“From another mother who too has lost her son, guilt is natural but don’t let it ruin your life,” Amber Blaschko-Feist said. “Learn from what happened and use it to help others. Live life one day at a time. Take as much time to grieve and don’t let anyone tell you different.”
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) sleeping guidelines, there are several ways in which babies can suffocate while sleeping and fall victim to SIDS.
First, if the sleep surface has soft bedding like pillows, comforters or quilts; second if a parent is bed-sharing or co-sleeping with the child and rolls over onto the baby; or third, if the baby becomes trapped between an adult and the bed surface during bed-sharing or co-sleeping.
The PHAC also says that babies do not need extra blankets because a baby’s movements can cause their head to be covered – this can cause them to overheat. However, if a blanket is needed, it is safest to use a thin, lightweight and breathable blanket.
It is also not recommended for babies to be sleeping with toys in their cribs or bassinets, or with animals.
The Canadian Paediatric Society also recommends the following for baby’s safe sleeping:
- Babies should be sleeping on their back starting from birth and for the first year of life.
- Do not use sleep positioners or rolled up blankets to keep the baby on its back as these items can cause the baby to suffocate.
- Do not place babies on soft mattresses or waterbeds. Instead, make sure the mattress is firm. Babies can turn onto their stomach and bury their face, cutting off their air.
- Should you swaddle your baby, make sure to follow a safe swaddling technique. This means the airways should be clear and there should be enough room for them to move their legs.
- Do not use any soft bedding like pillows and blankets until 12 months of age.
As of 2015, Canada’s infant mortality rate sits at 4.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, the World Bank reports.
Latest numbers from Statistics Canada show Prince Edward Island as the province with the lowest infant mortality rate with 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013. The highest rate is in Nunavut with 18.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.