Oklahoma mom Ali Dodd's life changed forever on April 6, 2015, when just hours after dropping off her 11-week-old son Sheperd at daycare, she received a frantic call from the daycare manager.
Sheperd wasn't breathing, and EMTs were performing CPR on him at the licensed in-home daycare facility.
"She said, ‘Ali, get here quick. I don’t know what happened! I put him down for a nap, and when I came back to check on him, he was blue,’” Dodd tells Us Weekly in a new interview.
By the time Ali and her husband, Derek, got to the hospital, Sheperd was gone. "I kissed him all over his face and apologized hundreds of times," the 33-year-old said. "When your child dies, you wish you could die."
Ali and Derek believe that their son's death was preventable. Police reports show that Shepherd was swaddled and placed in an unsecured newborn bucket seat and left alone for two hours. Dodd says his head fell down into a chin-to-chest position while sleeping, and without the muscle strength to pull his head up, he suffocated.
What's more is that the childcare provider had recently been cited by the Department of Human Services for unsafe sleep practices. According to KFOR-TV, the daycare owner's license was revoked a few months after Sheperd's death.
"When you lose a baby, you lose their whole life," Dodd told Us Weekly. "You lose birthdays. You lose Christmases. You lose kindergarten and the first day of school. You lose everything."
The Dodds are currently fighting to introduce laws in Oklahoma that educate childcare providers on proper sleep practices, with Shepherd's Law already in effect, and four others "heading to the committee."
Do you think childcare providers are doing enough to prevent infant deaths like Shepard's? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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