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Sleep safety warnings following baby Leia-Mai’s death

Parents are being urged not to leave their babies sleeping unattended in bouncers, swings or prams, following the death of a three-month-old baby girl.

Leia-Mai Smith died after being left to sleep in her bouncer for several hours, after her mother fell asleep on the couch with an older sibling, an inquest in the UK has heard.

When 24-year-old Danielle Jones woke up in the middle of the night, she found her daughter unresponsive and her lips blue.

In a written statement heard at the inquest, Jones said she gave her baby mouth to mouth resuscitation and called an ambulance.

Paramedics were unable to revive Leia-Mai and she passed away at her home.

“It all seemed so unreal, like a bad dream, and I thought I would suddenly wake up and it would all be okay,” Jones’ statement read.

“I love my children dearly and live every day with this pain.”

The pathologist was unable to provide a conclusive cause of death, but said Sudden Infant Death Syndrome was a possibility.

Senior Coroner Katy Skerrett said there was a label on the swing which bouncer which warned parents not to leave children unattended.

However. most recent baby swings and bouncers carried an updated warning stating they are not intended for long periods of sleeping, she said.

The case serves as a reminder that bouncers, swings, beanbags and prams are not to be used in replacement of a cot or bassinet and should be supervised at all times.

Product Safety expert David Strachan from the Office of Fair Trading says babies should only be placed to sleep or nap in a cot that meets Australian Standards.

“Only place your baby on a firm surface to sleep, as soft pillows, cushions and sofas are a suffocation risk,” he said.

“Do not place quilts, doonas, stuffed toys, cot bumpers or soft pillows in the cot with your child.

“Avoid using sleep positioners such as rolls, cot restraints or wedges unless advised to do so by a doctor.

“Keep in mind while many baby products, such as strollers and bouncers, are safe for their intended use, children should not be left to sleep in them unsupervised.”

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