Yahoo!7 reports Smith spoke to US news outlet WFAA about the tragedy which occurred three years ago when her daughter was in the charge of a sitter and Smith was at work. Smith says she received the phone call no parent ever wants to receive, “Drop everything. Mia didn’t wake up from her nap.”
According to Yahoo!7 the 18-month-old died from “positional asphyxia, meaning her breathing was restricted by the position she was in.” And while Smith says she knew the dangers of leaving Mia to sleep in the car seat, her sitter was unaware.
Trauma injury prevention specialist Sharon Evans told WFAA, “There’s nothing in the car seat that’s designed to sleep… if the straps aren’t tight, the child can kind of slump down. Children [are then] at risk of being strangled or asphyxiated.”
Many infant and child car seats have the ability to be clipped in and out of the car and into a pram base, or just carried by the handle with the child still strapped in. This type of car seat is a popular choice for parents because it saves the parent waking them up if the child or baby has fallen asleep during the car trip. However, as the devastating case above illustrates it’s not safeto leave a child to sleep in a car seat.
Smith says she wants every other parent to heed this safety warning and aside from issuing her warning on WFAA if she’s walking around town and sees someone using a “car seat on the seats of restaurants or putting them on the floor at tables…I literally walk up to people and I say, ‘You know, I had a daughter…who passed away and I just want you to be really careful.’”
This article originally appeared on marie claire.