Baby Dies In Cot As Worried Mum Watches Live Stream

Story By: John FengSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Asia Wire Report


A worried mum who shared CCTV footage of her face-down crying infant while begging for help on a training service for new parents was reportedly advised not to intervene – but found her daughter dead an hour later.

The new mum from Shantou, a city in Guangdong Province in South China, had been standing outside the door but did not go into the room as her three-month-old girl cried for over an hour while ‘learning to sleep face down’ on the afternoon of 16th April, reports said.

According to major news outlets in China, the unnamed parent had been following advice given on fee-paying child care training service ‘Wonton’, which advocates for teaching babies “independent sleeping” and “face-down” postures.

Subscribers are charged up to 6,999 RMB (800 GBP) for 10 days of guidance sessions – each an hour long – and access to its messaging forums.

Despite available scientific literature linking face-down sleeping with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – or cot death – the Chinese parenting platform claims it “makes babies feel safer” and “aids digestion”.

Local media is now carrying images of chat screenshots which appear to show the mother begging for help and advice on the platform’s messaging board between 1:01pm and 2:12pm on the day of the incident.

Through a baby camera, she had been watching her daughter cry while lying face down in her cot, but she did not know whether to intervene, believing it may interfere with the parenting service’s ‘independent sleep guidance programme’.

The distressing messages show the parent sharing footage of her crying infant while asking: “Is anybody there? I’m a bit worried.

“My baby just went to sleep but she suddenly turned around.

“She usually refuses to sleep on her stomach. Listen to her cries. Should I go in and turn her around?

“I’m currently standing by the door. I’m worried she’ll suffocate.”

After no one responds for nine minutes, the mother shares the video again and tags one of the guidance counsellors – known as ‘teachers’.

She writes: “Please take a look [at the video]. My usual guidance teacher isn’t answering.”

The teacher and other mothers on the platform respond, allegedly reassuring her that her baby’s cries are normal, and that they are part of the process of training the child to sleep independently.

They repeat their advice when the girl reportedly stops crying an hour later, with the mum writing: “There’s no more sound. I’m afraid she’s suffocated to death.”

The parent thanks the respondents for their messages, the screenshots show, but just one hour later, she reveals her daughter has died.

Messages beginning at 3:03pm read: “She really was suffocating.

“She’s dead. She’s not breathing.

“Her lips are purple. What do I do?

“It’s been nearly an hour since [she stopped crying].

“I found her while trying to wake her up for feeding.

“My mother-in-law has taken her to the hospital.

“I can’t face this.”

According to reports, the baby was pronounced dead at a local hospital, but neither the parent nor the healthcare facility has released further statements about the incident.

Meanwhile, the parenting platform Wonton, which is registered in Shanghai under the company name ‘Amy Babycare’, has released statements across all its verified social media accounts claiming “zero responsibility” for the child’s death.

The note released on 19th April said it gave parents clear safety guidelines regarding sleeping face down, adding that it forbids clients from “forcing” babies to sleep on their stomachs, especially when not supervised.

The advice appears to contradict its own online guidance, and recommendations given by the teacher and other mothers on the messaging board.

The statement added that doctors had ruled that the baby’s death was not directly linked to suffocating as a result of sleeping face down.

However, citing “privacy”, the parenting platform said it would not be revealing the “true” cause of death.

It continued: “The company has been in contact with the mother, and she has not informed us that the incident was caused by any wrongdoing or negligence on our part.”

The statement, which comments have called “callous”, also claimed the mother’s subscription to its counselling service had expired 15 days before the incident on 31st March.

Members of the public, however, have left thousands of angry messages under the post, leading the platform to lock its comment section.

There have also been calls for Chinese market ethics watchdogs to investigate the service.

According to Chinese media reports, Wonton was founded by a mum-of-two who calls herself ‘Wonton Mum’.

In a biographical description on the parenting platform’s website, the founder claims she has two postdoctorate degrees in pharmacy and chemistry, acquired from a university in the United States.

She also lists certificates including the American Red Cross Advanced Child Care Training, which can be acquired after an online course costing just 45 USD (36 GBP).

Despite much social media outrage at the platform, and some directed at the mother herself, Shantou and Shanghai authorities have yet to announce any criminal inquiries into the tragedy at the time of writing.

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