Investigation underway into death of a 3-month-old baby during sleep training

By Chen Shasha Published: 2020/4/22 23:36:50

Photo: Screenshot of Weibo Video

The Shanghai consumer watchdog has launched an investigation into a company over its alleged involvement in the death of a 3-month-old infant.

Police in Shantou of South China's Guangdong Province, where the incident happened, are also reportedly investigating the incident.

The incident happened when the child's mother was trying to teach her baby to "sleep on her stomach," under the guidance of the company's childcare consultants. It was done via a WeChat group on April 16, according to recent posts on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

Several video clips and WeChat chat history circulating online show the baby lying face down on the bed trying to turn over and constantly crying. The young mother was watching her child via a surveillance video in another room and, reportedly, didn't intervene despite worrying the child may suffocate, based on the advice of the consultants who suggested this was the way to teach the child to learn to sleep on her stomach.

The baby was found to be not breathing about two hours after the mother asked for guidance in the group.

The company released a statement on Sina Weibo on April 19 saying that based on diagnosis, the child had not died from suffocation caused by sleeping on her stomach. It also said that the mother did not blame the team members for causing the baby's death.

However, a Sina Weibo user, who is also a certified pediatrician, suggested that the company is trying to shirk its responsibility by arguing that the child had died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which manifests different symptoms from suffocation.

The incident sparked outrage on China's social media, with netizens criticizing the company for giving wrong, unprofessional, and irresponsible advice and questioning its qualifications. Some blamed the mother for being too careless and obedient to what the consultants said, while others were sympathetic to her.

Some mothers who took part in previous courses questioned why the consultants kept brainwashing them about the benefits of letting children sleep on their stomach.

Song Bin, deputy director of the consumer watchdog of Jinshan district of Shanghai, said that law enforcement personnel have been in touch with Du Cong, the legal representative of the company, who claims he is in the US and has not yet provided a contact person to help with the investigation, reported Thursday.

The company, registered in Jinshan, doesn't have an office in Jinshan, Song noted. It provides infants and young children health consultation services via Sina Weibo and WeChat under the name of Zhishixiaohuntunyuerjing (Parenting skills by Small Cheese Wonton).

A Shanghai-based pediatrician, who asked not to be named, told the Global Times on Wednesday that it is not recommended to let children under the age of 1 sleep on their stomach, both in China and the US, and if a child vomits, such a position will also cause an obstruction to the child's airway.

"It will increase the chance of SIDS," he noted. He also suggested it's best not to upset a child's natural sleeping habits too much for health reasons.

Posted in: SOCIETY

blog comments powered by Disqus