“I ran to the truck and drove way too fast to the daycare provider's home. When I arrived, they were wheeling my son out of the house on a stretcher.”
It’s common practice for busy parents to entrust their child to the day cares. For this busy Oklahoma couple, they had a better alternative: in-home day cares.
“We chose an in-home day-care provider in Oklahoma (where we reside) to watch Shepherd,” said Derek Dodd in his Your Tango article.
“The woman was highly recommended by a friend and she would only watch teacher’s kids. This meant she would be closed during the Summers and school breaks, which was great for us because I’m a teacher.”
Little did he know that their choice would cost them their son’s life.
“On April 6, I left for work early and was able to kiss Shepard and Ali goodbye. I will never forget him looking over for me and smiling.”
But at midday, his wife Ali received a phone call from the daycare provider and said that Shepard had stopped breathing and that she had called 911 and the police. Ali called him then said he had to go.
“I ran to the truck and drove way too fast to the daycare provider’s home. When I arrived, they were wheeling my son out of the house on a stretcher,” he said.
As it turned out, the daycare provider had placed a swaddled Shapard in an unbuckled car seat where he wiggled down until he lost his airway and suffocated to death.
This happened despite having been counseled by the Department of Human Services more than once after she had endangered another infant’s life justten days ago.
The DHS even explicitly told her that infants sleeping in car seats is dangerous and increases the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Not only that:
“Our childcare provider was distracted by her friend who had stopped by around lunchtime,” Derek confessed. “Two hours passed before she finally checked on Shepard and found him completely blue.”
The worst part is that after all the tragedy and heartache, the daycare provider is not facing charges.
Derek described Shepard as an unnaturally happy and healthy baby boy.
“He would smile until something needed to be corrected. He would cry, you would fix it, then he would smile again. He was a special baby to my wife and I after years of infertility, and had a life ahead with limitless possibilities.”
He and his wife had to say goodbye to their son, intubated on a stretcher, surrounded by doctors and nurses looking at them in pity.
“Shepard’s death doesn’t have to be in vain,” said Derek. “Unsafe sleep surfaces are a REAL danger. We’re looking to focus the attention to safe sleep standards so they can protect Oklahoma’s children from negligent decisions.”
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