New mum heartbroken after baby dies during first day of care

A new mum has written a heart-wrenching piece calling for longer parental leave following the devastating death of her four month old baby while at day care.

“As he did most mornings of the 117 days of his life, the first thing Karl did that Monday morning in July was to give me a smile like sunlight,” New York mum Amber Scorahs wrote about little Karl’s first – and only – day of care. 

Despite not wanting to let go of those precious moments at home with her baby, the American system left Amber little choice, with childcare costs prohibitive – not to mention the loss of essential health insurance (necessary as her husband is a freelancer) should she quit her position.

“I justified it a million ways, as one justifies when one has run out of alternatives. He is an only child and maybe he would like to play with these other children. There are other babies who have been there since they were 6 weeks old, and Karl is 15 weeks. He is strong and has never been sick a day in his life!. It’s not like he’s going to die!

“But no matter how I tried to make myself feel better, it felt bad.”

Still Amber plucked up her courage and dropped her baby off at day care that morning. It was when she returned to the centre at lunchtime to nurse Karl that she discovered the tragedy.

“I was so excited to see him, I ran the two blocks there from the office.”

As she approached, Amber noticed the door to the centre was open and immediately alarm bells were set off.

“I saw my son unconscious, splayed out on a soft changing table. His lips and the area around his mouth were blue, and the day-care owner was performing CPR on him, incorrectly.

“Our sweet son died two and a half hours after the first time I had left him.

“Would Karl have died if he had been with me that morning? The medical examiner finished her report last week and the conclusion is: undetermined.”

Amber has launched a campaign for better parental leave arguing that women are forced back to work too soon – information is available at

The devastating mum says her campaign is not aimed at the day care centre or her employer, but the system as a whole.

“What this article is about is that my infant died in the care of a stranger, when he should have been with me. Our culture demanded it,” she wrote.

“A mother should never have no choice but to leave her infant with a stranger at three months old if that decision doesn’t feel right to her. Or at six weeks old. Or three weeks old,” she continued.

“I would have stayed home with Karl longer, but there just didn’t seem to be a way.

“And I knew well enough that a million other mothers in America before me had faced the same choice and had done the same, even earlier than I had, though it tortured them emotionally, or physically, to do so.”

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