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Cause undetermined in infant's day care death

Posted December 31, 2009

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— Wake County medical examiners can not determine what caused the October death of a 3-month-old girl at an Apex day care, although some signs point to sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

Authorities were called to Judy's Home Care, at 1300 Laura Duncan Road, on Oct. 26 on a report that an infant had stopped breathing. The child, Eliana Navy, was taken to WakeMed, where she died.

According to the autopsy released Thursday, the day care owner, Judy Register Lucas, said Eliana was found unresponsive and face-down in a portable crib. The circumstances of how she was put to bed aren't clear, the autopsy said.

Those signs could point to SIDS, but there is not enough evidence to support that theory, according to the report signed by doctors Kevin Greene and Deborah Radisch.

Eliana was "previously healthy," did not have any injuries or physical abnormalities and only had drugs in her system from resuscitation efforts, the autopsy says.

"Given that the child was reportedly found face down and that there is some uncertainty as to the circumstances surrounding the death, raising the possibility of an asphyxial means of the death, the cause of death in this case is best classified as 'undetermined,'" the autopsy concludes.

Lucas has not been charged in the girl's death. She faces four felony charges stemming from state health inspections done before Eliana's death.

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  • St Ives Dec 31, 2009

    Babies should be put on their backs yet some babies don't seem to be able to sleep in that position.

  • Deb1003 Dec 31, 2009

    SIDS has always been defined as the sudden death of an infant w/ no medical reason for their passing. Even though placing them on their back to sleep helps reduce the numbers, I don't believe it's been medically proven that it is a "cure". My condolences to the parents and to the caretaker.

  • thebridges Dec 31, 2009

    Still amazed at how some people respond to these articles! Landshark, maybe some of us have no choice and some of us are better moms because we work! My child was at this daycare and I still trust her with the life of my children. Call me crazy, but unless you were there, know Judy, and know how her daycare ran then you have no right to critize her or the type of childcare she provided.

  • AX Dec 31, 2009

    Who made Landshark the authority on parenthood? Obviously not in touch!!!

  • Whatever Geez Dec 31, 2009

    landshark, not everyone is as perfect a parent as you. I on the other hand had to start working when she was 6 weeks; if you had followed this story they lady had a private daycare where she was very known by the parents of the children who stayed there.

  • concerncitizen Dec 31, 2009

    uncangel, he is my argument to what you just said. "So sorry for this family. SIDS is not 100% preventable because we do not know the causes, but sad if the rules were not followed." What's sad is parents have positioned themselves in sure a way that, they somehow hope and believe a law written to protect children will acctually protect them. It will not! Only parents can protect children! For what ever reason parents are willing giving the children over to strangers and hope laws will protect them, no real enforcement of the laws exist to protect the child from harm or death! What needs to happen is the parents need to applly more importance to personally careing for their own children. The parents attention is on aquireing things and not caring for children! It is just that simple! 99.9% of the time, no one will care for your child better than the parents! Day care is better suited for toddlers, and older children!

  • Whatever Geez Dec 31, 2009

    My baby had real bad stomach aches so I would place her on her stomach...if you do this in a daycare setting, you must fill out paperwork to give them permission. I did not leave her like that all the time but you never know.

  • uncange1 Dec 31, 2009

    I am a certified ITS-SIDS trainer. The guidelines stress that infants birth through 12 months of age must be placed to sleep on their back. The AAP states that infants who are able to roll are able to choose what sleep position they are most comfortable with, however the are to ALWAYS be placed initially on their backs to sleep. Three months old is a bit young for a child to be rolling, so this would typically not apply. I would be interested to see if there was an "I can roll" sign posted on/around the child's crib. If this was placed there, then it would show the child could roll (as is mandated by the SIDS law)

    Also, licensing rules require a sleep chart to document the position the child was originally placed in - did this center not have one? This would be the first resource to determine when the child was placed to sleep and the position.

    So sorry for this family. SIDS is not 100% preventable because we do not know the causes, but sad if the rules were not followed.

  • HowManyOunces Dec 31, 2009

    Babies should be put on their backs to sleep.
    "Since the Back to Sleep campaign began in 1994, the SIDS rate in the United States has declined by more than 50 percent." http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/safe_sleep_gen.cfm

  • whatelseisnew Dec 31, 2009

    four felony charges; I wonder if the State notifies parents that these charges exist?