The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 17, 2013

Tragic story raises the awareness of child infant death in Garfield County


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — For Brandi Atkinson, it played out like a time warp.

Reporter Phyllis Zorn’s compelling coverage on Sunday detailed the story of Atkinson’s son, Dax. The young mother of the 6-month-old boy bravely shared her heartbreaking experience.

Dax went down for a nap but was discovered not breathing.

“Everything was in slow motion,” Atkinson said. “They worked on him in the house for a while, then worked on him in the ambulance.”

Atkinson remembers that as she watched them working on Dax, she didn’t know what to tell her husband. Emergency medical technicians tended to Dax about a half hour before taking him to Integris Bass Baptist Health Center. From there, Dax was airlifted to Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.

Sadly, it was too late to save Dax, but this tragedy raises awareness of child infant death.

While that infant died after napping in a chair, we learned in a sidebar that well-intentioned co-sleeping is Garfield County’s top reason for infant death in recent years. Babies need to be put down to slumber in a safe sleeping environment.

In co-sleeping, sometimes a snoozing parent has rolled over onto the child. Other times, the child has suffocated on pillows, bedding, bumper pads, stuffed animals, blankets, the back of the couch or the like.

Young parents aren’t being taught enough about caring for babies. They should eliminate potentially suffocating items from the bed.

We’ve also learned not to tell grieving parents certain things. Don’t suggest they can have another child, and don’t say you understand how they feel about their harrowing experience.

Silently walk beside these grieving parents instead of trying to fix or minimize their feelings.