After struggling for seven-years with infertility, Ryne and Rachel Jungling were overjoyed when they welcomed twins, Anders and Linnea, in January 2018. “They were miracle babies,” the infants’ father, Ryne Jungling of North Dakota, told TODAY Parents.
The siblings became inseparable from day one. On Rachel Jungling’s Instagram, the two are often seen holding hands or reaching over to one another. Sadly though, the twins have been torn apart forever. On January 12, Anders died after a staff member at his daycare left him in his car seat. When his mother dropped him off, she said, “Bye buddy,” and he smiled back at her.
Afterward, an investigation found that Anders had died of positional asphyxia, meaning his airway was obstructed when his chin fell to his chest. Now, his parents have launched a campaign with Safe Kids Worldwide to warn other parents about the dangers of letting children sleep in car seats.
Safe Kids Technical Advisor Lorrie Walker was interviewed by @TODAYshow for an important story about the dangers of babies sleeping in car seats and the Junglings, who lost their 11-month-old son when he was left to sleep in his car seat at day care.https://t.co/MOldxE7jZQ— Safe Kids Worldwide (@safekids) October 10, 2019
In a car, the seat is reclined at 45 degrees, which allows a child to hold their head back and breathe. Infants’ neck muscles aren’t developed enough for them to sit up for extended periods of time, therefore, the angle at which they sit is very important. Experts urge parents to avoid keeping their children in car seats for more than 30 minutes at a time.
“If you take your baby into a restaurant, don’t just buckle the chest clip and think you’re good to go. The crotch strap is what keeps them from sliding forward. It’s also important to keep checking on them. A car seat is not a babysitter,” Lorrie Walker of Safe Kids Worldwide told TODAY Parents.
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global organization that works to protect children from unintentional injuries, which are the leading cause of death to children in the United States. Around the world, nearly one million children die of unintentional injuries each year. The organization, which collaborates with communities to provide the latest information and resources to keep families healthy and safe, hosts numerous events throughout the year, including car seat check-ups, sports safety clinics, educational workshops, and inspection stations.
Dad warns of infants sleeping in car seats after son dies at day care https://t.co/nZWTyCSjis via @TODAYshow— Today's Parent (@Todaysparent) October 11, 2019
Letting your baby sleep in the car seat is super risky—here’s why https://t.co/mrIYe1fM5z pic.twitter.com/OKrkz10WqR
The Junglings welcomed a son named Elias last week, but they miss Anders terribly every single day. "Linnea was just 11 months old when Anders died. One of our first questions was, 'How long will she remember him?'" Ryne said. "Some brain research that we came across said that if you are a year old, you remember about six weeks. That was tough. That's why we keep talking about him."
A Journal of Pediatrics study from 2015 found that 47 children under the age of two had died over a four-year period as a result of car seats being used outside of a vehicle. “Anders' death was 100 percent preventable,” Ryne said. “We want to make sure this never happens to anyone else.”