A woman named Hava dropped her baby Joey at daycare. After that day, this woman became an expert in SIDS and daycare safety as she experienced something terrible. She decided to share her story in order to warn all the mothers out there.


Her husband Avi went to work and Hava dropped her children at daycare (the Above and Beyond Daycare Center in Highland Park, New Jersey). Her daughter had been there for longer, since her infancy, and her son Joey, who was only 9 weeks old, just started going there.

Hava was nervous, just like any mother, and drove around the block in order to see the children play outside in order to calm herself and go back to work. She was a biology teacher at a high school. She did not want her students start the year with a substitute teacher, and thus decided to leave Joey at daycare, even though she was not thrilled about that. She returned to work earlier. After a few hours, her mother-in-law was there, standing at the classroom doorway. Hava was told that Joey has been taken to the hospital. She rushed into the hospital to find out that her baby as dead.

Both the parents were deprived of sleeping when Joey was around, but once he died, they were devastated and cried until they collapsed with exhaustion.

The death of Joey was reported as a SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). After weeks of his death, the parents learned about the disturbing circumstances about the incident. The baby was put face down in the crib while swaddled and was left alone for 2 hours, despite the fact that Hava said it had never happened for Joey to sleep so long.

The circumstances were video recorded, however it is not clear from the video or from the testimony if the daycare worker who was in charge that day. Even the medical examiner declined to classify the death as SIDS case.

Soon, Hava became pregnant again and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. This was not a replacement for Joey, and he is still being missed. Hava decided to take off the whole school year and stay with her baby at home. Avi and Hava had recently started looking for other options for daycare and asked their friends for advice.

Today, they wonder what Joey would have grown into if nothing happened to him.

SIDS deaths

The National Institute of Health says that such death happens to infants who are between 1 and 4 months old, thus daycare can be one of the more dangerous places for them, especially the first few weeks of their life.

Joey was born through a natural delivery, was breastfed, and lived in a non-smoking home. There were no risks for SIDS, except that he was placed on his back to sleep at home, however in daycare, he was placed on the belly. This shows that even though parents do anything at their homes, their children can be at risk if the caregivers do not.

Those babies who usually sleep on their back are at great risk of SIDS when placed to sleep on their bellies by someone else.

Hava advised parents not to assume that daycare workers know about the safe sleep recommendations, even the licensed ones. Those who watch the children may not be well-informed about the risks of SIDS, like parent are. The daycare worker of Joey insisted on not knowing this can happen. No one noticed that something happened with the baby even though there were 3 other people in the room.

Visit the baby during nap time

This was not an isolated example. There is a pattern of unsafe behavior at the daycare center. The prosecutor said that a worker was seen placing a blanket over a baby’s head during naptime in order to block the light out, and other examples of babies being put on their bellies to sleep.

It is highly significant to speak with the childcare workers about what you expect when they care for your baby. Visiting during nap time is extremely important. Moreover, the parents should be aware of the regulations of their state, and ascertain if other regulations are followed. For example, if the daycare center asks for loose blanket or even lets the babies sleep in swings, despite the regulations of the state, they might be careless about the safety regulations when the parents are not looking.

Look for cameras

Hava recommends that parents use daycare centers that have cameras as it allows the parents to check it on during the day. Employees behave properly and carefully if they know they are being monitored. It is crucial to talk to the daycare workers and observe the layout of the daycare as well as the employee’s behavior in order to ensure safety of the babies.

Hava shared this story generously with other people hoping that no other parent experiences such a tragedy. There is nothing that can take away the pain is something happens to one’s children.

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