Omaha police are investigating the death of a 1-year-old boy who was napping in a car seat while at the home of his day care provider.
Police said Chase Hunter was lying in the car seat with an unsecured harness. As he shifted in the seat, the harness encircled his neck, cutting off his breathing, investigators concluded.
Emergency responders were called to the child care provider's home near 91st and Spaulding Streets shortly after 3 p.m. Feb. 22.
Chase, son of Chris and Jennifer Hunter, whose first birthday was Feb. 9, died at Children's Hospital & Medical Center.
No charges have been filed in the case. The provider could not be reached for comment.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said the day care wasn't a licensed facility.
State law requires anyone caring for four or more children at any one time to be licensed. It was unclear how many were being cared for in the home.
The Hunter family released a statement saying that members “greatly appreciate the outpouring of support, prayers and concern of the community regarding the unbearable loss of Chase, but ask for privacy during this extremely difficult time.''
The Omaha family's statement also said that as the investigation continues they “will look to determine the responsible party at fault for the loss of their 1-year-old son so this does not happen to another family.''
Tracy King, injury prevention coordinator at Children's and chapter leader for Safe Kids Omaha, said a child should never be placed in a car seat for any purpose other than travel.
In fact, she said, parents shouldn't leave their children in car seats for more than 90 minutes, even while traveling.
She said parents should stop and take the child out of the car seat for a few minutes. If the infant cries, all the better, she said. It's the sound of a child who is breathing properly.
“Infant carriers are designed for travel — they're not designed for sleeping,” she said. “In a car seat, their whole body is kind of slouched down, and they may not be getting proper breath in.''
She said a child should never be left in a car seat unattended, even while sleeping.
“People think when a baby is asleep, that they are safe,” she said. “But the reality is, that risk (of an unattended baby) can be fatal.”
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