On April 4 this year, Kirsti Clark, 28, and her husband Christopher Clark, 29, decided to go out with their daughters, three-year-old Malena and three-week-old Harper.
Little did they know that the trip would be the worst trip of their lives.
The couple left their home at 2:30 with their two daughters. They spent their afternoon shopping for their two little daughters. At around 6:30, they decided to go back to their home. It took them 1 hour and 45 minutes, and during this time, their three-week-old daughter, Harper was strapped into the car seat.
When they got home, Kirsti and Christopher put Malena to bed and left Harper in the car for another 15 minutes. When they came back to take Harper from her car seat, they noticed something was wrong.
“When we got home it was way past Malena’s bedtime so brought Harper in her car seat and she stayed in there for 15 minutes as we got Malena into bed,” Kirsti said.
“My husband got Harper out and put her on his knee, but she looked like she couldn’t get comfy so he laid her down on her mat and she was kicking about.
“I told him her lips looked blue and then he pointed out how red her cheeks were. He picked her up, and I could tell straight away from his face that something was wrong.”
Kirsti thought she was going to lose her little daughter but luckily, the Doctors were able to resuscitate Harper. The Doctors told the couple that Harper suffered from oxygen deprivation. Babies that spend more than an hour in a car seat are at risk of suffering from oxygen deprivation.
“When the consultant told us it was the car seat I couldn’t believe it. I thought ‘there’s no way.’ I couldn’t understand why nobody had ever told us. We had obviously heard about not keeping babies in car seats overnight because it causes curvature of the spine but not about anything like this.”
“When my wee girl was a baby we did four-hour drives down to visit family in Cornwall, and we had never had any problems at all. The doctors did tell us in the hospital that it is usually a concern with premature babies, but Harper is a big girl. She was 8lb 5oz when she was born, and she’s 8lb 9oz now.”
“After we got my head around that being the reason, Christopher and I felt so angry at ourselves – we felt like we did this to our baby. It was horrendous. But we’ve spoken to so many people, and they had never heard about it either, and then some people have conflicting opinions on the time.”
Now, Kirsti wants to share her experience with the world to make other parents aware as she thinks she almost lost her child and didn’t want it to happen with somebody else.
“That’s why we knew we had to share what happened to Harper because parents need to know. Just two hours in a car seat and we could have lost her, it’s terrifying. I would tell every parent to really carefully watch their babies and if they don’t absolutely need to be in the car seat take them out because it is not worth what we had to go through.”
“Watch your baby and know your baby. If something doesn’t seem quite right take them straight to the hospital.”