Grieving mum of three week old baby who died in sling speaks
THE mother of a three-week-old baby who died in his sling has spoken about her unbearable pain.
Tattika Dunn said her "heart feels like it's been ripped in a million pieces" after she unwrapped son Harvey at a post-natal check-up on the New South Wales Central Coast and a nurse realised he had stopped breathing.
NSW Police said the 36-year-old mum arrived at the Long Jetty Community Health Centre with her son in a "fabric baby sling" on 8 April and chatted with the nurse for at least 10 minutes before she unwrapped her baby.
Staff at the centre frantically performed CPR on the baby, but Harvey could not be revived. The newborn, who was born on March 12, was Ms Dunn's third son with fiance Bill McGlinn. They are also parents to four-year-old twins Seth and Bailey.
"Just wanted to do a shout out, a massive thank you to a massive group of people who came together and helped me when I couldn't help myself," Ms Dunn wrote in a Facebook post seen by the Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate.
"I cannot go into detail as it's still very raw and my heart feels like it's been ripped in a million pieces but on the 8th of last month whilst going for a routine check up with my 3 week old precious baby boy Harvey passed, it happened for 'no known reason' nothing can be explained, a very much loved family member was taken from this world, he had a mum a dad and 4 year old twin brothers who loved him more then anything!
"When one of our worst nightmares came to play a community stood up and helped do things I just couldn't, these people are now like family."
A GoFundMe group has been set up by the couple's surf life saving group to raise money to support the family as they "attempt to heal after experiencing the worst event that could ever happen to a parent."
Gillian Kennedy-Wilkie, who created the page, wrote: "It is with a very heavy heart we here at North Entrance Surf Life Saving Club write this on behalf of our friends and very valuable Surf Life Saving members Tattika, Bill and their two 4 year old twin sons.
"Tattika had a healthy pregnancy with lots of excitement and plenty of happy planning for her arrival. Nothing could have prepared them for what was about to happen.
"Giving birth to their little boy was one of the happiest experience of their life but 3 weeks later turned into an indescribable one. They were faced with the unthinkable and had to say a sudden final goodbye to baby Harvey.
"Harvey was a very much loved little man who's life was suddenly taken with unknown cause. His little heart just stopped beating. He was a beautiful baby son and brother, who will be forever in all their hearts.
"It's unimaginable to most of us to even comprehend what they must be going through. There is nothing that can be done to ease the pain that comes with such an unexpected tragedy. They will never stop loving, missing, and grieving for the loss of their son and brother."
An inquest into Harvey's death will be performed by the NSW coroner. Police are not treating his death as suspicious.
Three Australian babies have died while being carried in slings since 2010, prompting doctors to regularly issue warnings to parents. Each tragedy was caused by the baby being pressed against the carrier, forcing the infant's chin to be pressed against their own chest.
Red Nose Australia recommends parents do not put babies in slings until they are at least four months old, describing them as a "suffocation risk".
The handful of deaths prompted doctors to push for safety standards to be introduced right across the country for baby slings.
The Australian government introduced the TICKS rule in 2014, focusing on baby sling safety.
TICKS was created in the UK by sling manufacturers after doctors raised concerns.
At least six babies have died in the UK from baby slings.
Make sure the sling is tight, with your baby positioned high and upright with his head supported.
IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES
You should be able to see your baby's face simply by looking down. To avoid the risk of suffocation, ensure your baby's face, nose and mouth remain uncovered by both the sling and your body.
CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS
Following on from the recommendation to keep your baby positioned high, this section of the recommendations suggests that you should easily be able to kiss the top of your baby's head just by tipping your head forward.
KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST
Your baby's chin should be kept up and away from their body, and never curled so that his chin is forced onto his chest, as it can restrict breathing. You should also regularly check on your baby, because they can become distressed without making any noise or movement.
A baby's back should be supported in his sling, with his tummy and chest against you. If you need to bend down, do so from the knees, not the waist, and use one hand to support your baby's back while you do so.