A mother from Scotland is issuing a warning to parents after her daughter died while the rest of her family was sleeping.
While Dexy Leigh Walsh and her family slept, her 18-month-old daughter Connie Rose suffocated to death under a stuffed toy animal.
“I woke up to get my oldest ready for school to find my youngest baby had passed away. I have been blaming myself as she passed away due to suffocation as I had packed down the side of her bed with teddies and placed a big one on top of the smaller teddies to stop her from falling down the side of her bed…,” wrote Walsh on Facebook. “All I think about now is what if I just left it empty she would still be here maybe with just a small bump on her head.”
“Let them fall, don’t try to stuff small places up with soft things, just leave it empty,” she continued. “She had a bed guard at one side, and the smallest gap from her wall to her bed and that’s where I had put all her teddies… my biggest regret in life.”
Despite the tragedy, Walsh says having plush items around the bed is not uncommon for many babies. In fact, her oldest daughter also had drapes and teddies around the bed.
“My oldest daughter used to have her bed covered in cushions, teddies, had princess drapes, the lot. They don’t need anything on their bed but a cover – a pillow isn’t even needed,” she wrote. “I really hope my little princess’s tragic story can save someone else’s baby’s life… I miss you Connie so much, life is so unfair at times. I’m so glad [and] proud you were my little girl. You made me who I am today and now I’m even stronger for your big sister.”
“I want every parent to see and be aware of this.”
According to Safe Sleep Canada, “there is no need for any extra items in the crib, cradle or bassinet. Soft bedding, such as pillows, comforters, quilts and bumper pads, can increase the risk of suffocation.”
Public Health Canada recommends parents provide infants with nothing more than a firm mattress and a fitted sheet for the first 12 months of life, but Walsh believes parents should continue these standards beyond one year. Despite her tragic story, the mom wants to ensure other parents understand the dangers of adding bedding and stuffed toys to sleep areas.