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Baby’s death at local day care center goes to court

Date Posted: 2009-06-18

The case of liability in the case of a baby who died at a Nakagusuku Village day care center last March is headed to the public prosecutor’s office in Okinawa City.

The baby suffocated while sleeping on his face at the day care center, and the parents are charging negligence on the part of the staff. They’ve filed suit against the day care center owner and a school nurse, demanding ¥79 million compensation and damages. They allege the day care center was negligent in paying attention to the baby, who was left along for 15 minutes the morning of March 8th. During that time, the baby stopped breathing.

The day care nursery school owner says “we want to check causality between a baby sleeping on his face and the death accident; it might be some other reason the baby died. He’s asked for the case to be tossed out.

Complicating the case is that there are two schools of thought on whether babies should be placed on their stomachs or backs to sleep. “It is better to let babies sleep on their face,” some doctors say, “because of the baby’s body shape. If a baby vomits milk, it is more safe than the other way around.” On the other side, other doctors argue face down is more dangerous, as in this case, where the baby accidentally suffocated.

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