New parents do all they can to educate themselves about child safety. Sometimes though, the hardest lessons come at the most devastating costs. Ali and Derek Dodd are two heartbroken parents from Oklahoma; their 11-month-old son, Shepherd, died while in the care of an in-home daycare provider. Tragically, little Shepherd’s death was totally preventable.
This one morning started out like many others. Derek kissed his wife and infant son goodbye before heading off to a school where he worked as a teacher. Meanwhile, Ali got their little guy ready. She was going to drop him off at an in-home daycare. This woman had come highly recommended by a trusted family friend. Ali asked if she could bring Shepherd’s rock’n’play so the boy wouldn’t be lying on his back all day. When the caretaker saw the device, she told the mother she couldn’t let Shepherd sleep in it.
Here’s where events could’ve been changed. Derek penned an article for Your Tango. The daycare provider let Ali in on a secret. This childcare-giver confided that she had been cited by the Department of Human Services (DHS) 10 days earlier for allowing another infant to fall asleep in a swing and that they told her how dangerous both car seats and swings were for babies to sleep in.