Looking back on my Facebook posts I see a picture from five years ago. It’s my son, aged six months, covered in chocolate. It brings back such happy memories about my smiley, happy boy. And then it makes my heart hurt because all I have left of my baby is photos.
On 7th March 2013 Maison, aged seven months, died from suffocating on a nappy sack. My whole world was turned upside down in one morning from an item a lot of parents think is a nursery essential.
Walking into Maison’s room to find him will always haunt me, it’s not something I want anyone else to have to do. He had a nappy sack over his mouth and a few around the top of his cot. I screamed and called 999 but it all gets a bit blurry from then onwards.
I remember not being able to do CPR, I was so scared and in shock. My husband Martyn had to take over and I just stood uselessly watching him.
I remember standing in the kitchen ringing my mum and saying Maison was dead. She came straight over and arrived around about the same time the extra paramedics did. I went in the ambulance with Maison but couldn’t sit in the back as part of me knew he was gone already.
I spent every second hoping I was wrong, hoping my baby would wake up and cry. No-one had ever mentioned the noises someone having CPR performed makes and all these little sounds gave me hope he would be ok.
Martyn wasn’t allowed to leave our home as the police showed up. This was something I didn’t know until much later so I was left all alone and terrified.
I remember someone handing me a chair in A&E so I could watch a huge team work on my baby. A woman stood next to me explaining it all but her words wouldn’t register. The main image I remember is someone saying, “it’s been over an hour” and then the look on everyone’s faces.
I was taken into a side room for them to give me the news. Maison had died.
There isn’t a word to explain how you feel when you lose a child.
My mum and nan arrived next followed by Martyn and his mum. Other close family also came to say goodbye to Maison while we had him blessed.
Holding him was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was so scared but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. Once I was holding him I didn’t want to let go, I didn’t want to leave him at the hospital. Somehow, I put one foot in front of the other and made it out of the doors leaving my baby behind.
Maison’s cot had been placed next to a tall changing stand that had pockets. One side had nappies and the other side had nappy bags, cream, wipes, the usual stuff. Health care professionals had seen his room and none of us ever thought it would be possible for Maison to die in there.
I think Maison learned to stand for the first time that day and used the bumper to reach over to the changing stand where he pulled off a handful of bright orange nappy sacks.
Part of me wonders, if I had of known how dangerous bumpers are back then and not had one, would he have been able to reach?
Life as a bereaved parent is full of lots of what ifs.
Since Maison died I heard about other babies suffocating on nappy sacks. I set up my Facebook page Maison’s Memory to warn people of the dangers and to start a petition for there to be a set law on how nappy sacks are made.
I also asked RoSPA if I could help them with their nappy sack campaign. Through them we have been able to share Maison’s story all over the UK to so many people, and hopefully we are making a difference.
RoSPA has had meetings with nappy sack manufacturers to come up with a set of guidelines for nappy sacks. I feel this is a great step towards laws on how they are made.
Some companies have agreed to make nappy sacks only on a roll, unscented and black. We hope that they won’t be as interesting to babies, meaning less babies try to pick them up.
I do hope that there would be a future without nappy sacks, or one where they are made from biodegradable paper or something, but I know this isn’t likely to happen so I will continue to share Maison’s story until every parent everywhere knows about the dangers of nappy sacks and no more babies die.