Sudden death of infant calls weighted blankets into question - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Sudden death of infant calls weighted blankets into question

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Doctors say a baby's sudden death in St. Louis could have been caused by a weighted blanket covering the child. Child care workers covered the 7 month old with a weighted blanket which is designed to calm children and help them sleep.

The incident is a topic that hits home with Heartland moms, They say it made them think twice about what is best for their child. 

One of those mothers is Haylie Reynolds. We met her as she picked up baby Parker from his second day at University School for Young Children. 

"We chose this place because everyone was so friendly," said Reynolds. "I just felt so comfortable. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions." 

Not only that, Haylie says stories warning against potential dangers of the weighted blankets caught her attention and whether or not the facility used them was one of the first questions she asked. 

"It scared me," said Reynolds as she held Parker. "I didn't want something bad to happen to him." 

Kim Rueseler, the Lead Infant Teacher explained to Haylie that the blankets are not used. 

"It's my understanding that those are used with older kids or to calm older children with anxiety issues. We have never used them," said Rueseler. "In fact we put out information to our parents immediately about the potential for harm." 

Rueseler says it's a common practice any time they notice any incident with a new product, formula, or practice in research or the news. 

"Those blankets are often heavier than the child and it could kill a child," said Rueseler. 

She and doctors say the blankets are in fact used to calm older kids or children with anxiety associated with Autism or other syndromes. 

Pediatric experts stress to parents babies should be laid on their backs and monitored constantly if they are old enough to roll over. 

"If you swaddle a child it has to be touched around under it's armpits so the blanket can not get near it's face," said Rueseler. 

Rueseler says no one leaves the room while the babies are napping. There's always at least two certified workers in the room constantly monitoring the babies. 

"The ratio of babies to caregivers is four to one," said Rueseler. "They are never, ever alone." 

That's something that calms fears of mothers like Reynolds. 

"They were sending me pictures of him smiling yesterday. I didn't even cry when I dropped him off," said Reynolds. 

Doctors say you should always ask your daycare if they use the blankets and consult a doctor and get expert opinion if you feel your baby needs a weighted blanket or is large enough to handle one. 

University School for Young Children: http://www.semo.edu/usyc/

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