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Needless Infant and Toddler Deaths Caused by Positional Asphyxiation May Be Avoided

Experienced Attorney

Positional asphyxia (PA) occurs when the body is posed in a fixed position that causes upper airways to become blocked. Many of the known concerns with SIDS deaths share similar causes with positional asphyxia. Although a person of any age may die or suffer brain damage when oxygen fails to reach the brain, every year too many infants and toddlers unnecessarily lose their lives from suffocation caused by the improper use of equipment such as car seats, strollers, swings, bouncy seats and baby carriers and the inattentiveness of the caretaker. Positional asphyxia may occur when a baby’s head is flexed in a forward position, or when their chin rests upon their chest. Newborns and premature babies are at the greatest risk for PA because their neck muscles don’t have the strength to shift and reposition. Toddlers and infants suffering from a cold or allergies are also vulnerable to airway obstruction.

Nursery devices and car seats are designed to make baby safe, secure and happy while giving mom or dad a free hand. Used incorrectly, tragedies can and do occur. Instances of positional asphyxiation happen when the manufacturer’s directions are not followed. A 2015 study revealed that 69% of all families with newborns left the car seat straps too loose. One wrongful death attorney Indianapolis, IN respects states, “Unless the infant is comfortably but snugly restrained in an upright position with chin forward, a baby is at risk for both positional asphyxiation and injuries sustained in an automobile accident.”

In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 48% of car seat infant deaths resulted from positional asphyxia. Car seat PA not only occurs in automobiles, but can happen when baby is allowed to sleep in the carrier after the ride is over. In 2017, a daycare provider allowed an infant to sleep in a car seat, with tragic consequences. She restrained the child with a loosened chest belt and it is believed that the infant slid down and strangled after the provider left the room for a brief time. The authors of a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics have stated that most positional asphyxia infant deaths could have been avoided if the devices had been used correctly and the infant adequately supervised.

If a loved one or someone you know suffered an injury or died while under the protection of another adult or daycare provider, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer Indianapolis, IN relies on who will work gently and respectfully with the family to handle the legal claim.



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