Coroner recommends changes to sleeping in childcare

A FORMER Sunshine Coast family's heartache at losing their baby daughter has led to a coroner recommending immediate changes to sleeping practices at childcare facilities across the state.

Five-month-old Indianna Rose Hicks died suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep on July 20, 2012, on her first day with a home-based day carer at Little Mountain, Caloundra.

Her death has been ruled as falling within the category of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

A two-day coronial inquest, held earlier this month in Brisbane, heard when Indianna's carer Tracey Cross put the toddler down for a rest she was wrapped in a blanket to help her settle and was placed on her back in the cot.

The inquest heard Mrs Cross subsequently checked on Indianna a number of times.

But when Mrs Cross went to get the baby up from her afternoon sleep, sometime between 2.30 and 2.45pm, she noticed that Indianna was lying face down and her skin was pale.

Subsequent resuscitation efforts proved futile.

Deputy State Coroner John Lock, in delivering his findings and recommendations on Friday, said although Indianna's death was tragic, he found there was no evidence of neglect.

He recommended that early childhood education and care service providers across the state ensured they had documented "sleep and rest and supervision" policies in place incorporating best practice principles.

"SIDS and Kids has safe infant sleeping recommendations available for purchase and this could be considered as a starting reference for any review of existing policies, or in the event there are no such policies, adopted in the course of implementing one," he said.

"It is recommended that relevant governments give consideration to amending the national regulations to require approved providers to have a written policy and procedure relating to sleep and rest based on contemporary best practice principles."


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