Rachel and Ryne Jungling, from Mandan, North Dakota were thrilled when they found out that they were expecting twins in 2017.
After 7 years of infertility, Rachel finally gave birth to the beautiful twin babies, Anders and Linnea. But 11 months later, a heartbreaking tragedy happened when baby boy Anders suddenly died while napping in his car seat.
Rachel and Ryne are sharing their story to educate other parents on the dangers of letting babies sleep in their car seats.
Recalling the incident, Rachel said that she dropped the twins off at their daycare center and headed to work. Both babies were still fastened into their car seats and Linnea was awake, while Anders was drowsy from the car ride.
“With two, Rachel didn’t feel comfortable leaving one in the car, so she would grab them both in the carriers and bring them in,” Ryne told ABC 7. “It was common practice. Every day, we’d give the daycare provider the update — how they slept the night before, what they ate. [The kids] were usually out of the car seat.”
“Anders looked over at Rachel and Rachel said, ‘Bye buddy.’ He kind of smiled, and she left — with the assumption that he was going to be taken out of his car seat, and he wasn’t.”
Around 10 a.m. on that morning, Rachel received a call from the police that would change her life forever.
“They asked her twice, ‘Are you sitting down?’” Ryne said. “And they said they were coming to pick her up and that Anders was being rushed to the hospital.”
Ryne recalled the terrifying moment in an interview with ABC7, that his wife alerted him that something was terribly wrong.
“She said, something happened to Anders and you need to get to the hospital and I think it’s really bad.’ I remember her voice. I never heard it like that. She was really worried. It was tough. She thought it was kind of weird, but she knew it was pretty serious if something like that was happening,” Ryne said.
The Junglings later learned that Anders had not been removed from his car seat and had been allowed to continue sleeping in the car seat for two hours.
Children fall asleep in car seats most of the time, but letting them remain there once the car seat is removed from the base, and no longer arranged at a safe angle, poses a dangerous risk.
“We heard about this in parenting classes we took before the twins were born,” Rachel said in a CafeMom interview. “The nurses in the NICU also explained the risks to us. We made sure our parents knew not to let them sleep in their car seats. We thought our daycare provider knew this.”
“Car seats are lifesavers in the car, but that’s what they’re made for,” said Rachel. “They’re not sleeping devices for the home.”
Rachel, later on, gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Elias. The couple is both working together to educate other parents and is relying on their faith to continue to heal from their loss.