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What are the Risks and Dangers in Day Care Centers of Placing an Infant on the Tummy / Stomach? (Risks of Suffocation)

By George Podgorny, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In North Carolina and other States, infants are at risk for serious personal injury and even wrongful death while under the care of a day care center. Many people believe that the safest “activity” for an infant at a day care center is nap time or sleeping time. Actually, nap or sleep time can be a very dangerous activity if the child is not properly monitored. In particular, there are serious risks to an infant when an infant is placed on his or her stomach. The risks include those related to suffocation especially when an infant is placed on a soft mattress or near stuffed objects. The National MCH Center for Child Death Review has more information on the topic of Suffocation. Parents and child care providers should review this information and other resources regarding this topic. Furthermore, it is vital that child care providers are properly trained as to the proper supervision of children including infants while under the care of a day care center.

In Fort Bragg, North Carolina, it was reported that a 4 month old child died while under the care of Pope Child Development Center at Fort Bragg. The child – Santino “Sonny” Degenhard – was placed on his stomach during “tummy time” and died as a result of suffocation. An investigation revealed a videotape that captured Sonny’s struggle on the floor after he was placed on his stomach. Following the death and investigation, the parents have worked hard to get the word and message out about the dangers of “tummy time” and the tragic end of Sonny’s death.

Hopefully, other child care providers and day care centers will be able to learn a lesson or two to this incident and take better efforts to monitor infants during sleep time, nap time, and other time periods at a day care center. You can read more about the incident that took place at this Fort Bragg day care center at Baby Dies During Tummy Time at North Carolina Day Care Center.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Homeowner’s Insurance, Automobile Accidents, Medical Care and Treatment, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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