Kirsti and Christopher Clark got stuck in traffic one afternoon while running errands with their two daughters: 3-year-old Malena and 3-week-old infant Harper. It wasn’t until they got home and tried to take Harper out of her car seat that they realized there was a problem.
The couple, who live in Scotland, brought both daughters inside after returning home, but since it was already past Malena's bedtime, they decided to keep Harper in her car seat for another 15 minutes while they put their 3-year-old to bed, according to the Daily Mail.
"My husband got Harper out and put her on his knee, but she looked like she couldn't get comfy so he laid her down on her mat and she was kicking about," Kirsti told the outlet.
As Christopher held her, Harper's jaw clenched shut, her lips turned blue, and then white foam started coming out of her nose and mouth.
"It was so scary,” said Kirsti. “My husband was holding her and patting her back, and I was trying to get her mouth open to make sure she didn't swallow her tongue, but her jaw was clenched shut. It wasn't like a normal seizure. She was arching her back and throwing her head back."
Shocked by what they had seen, the terrified parents packed up both kids and rushed Harper to the hospital.
“The car journey was horrendous,” said Kirsti. “My husband kept asking if she was breathing, and I just had to say, ‘I don't know.’ She kept closing her eyes, and I was trying to keep her awake but then they would glaze over."
"I was trying to make sure she was breathing, but I was shaking so much I couldn't tell,” she added. “The whole way there all I could think was, 'We are going to lose her.'"
Though doctors were able to get Harper breathing again, they later determined that the child had suffered from severe oxygen deprivation after sitting in a car seat for nearly two hours. (In fact, a medical consultant told the family that spending more than one hour in a car seat can severely lower babies' oxygen levels.) Once removed from the car seat, the immediate increase of oxygen caused her body to go into shock.
"When the consultant told us it was the car seat, I couldn't believe it,” said Kirsti. “I thought, 'There's no way.’ We had obviously heard about not keeping babies in car seats overnight because it causes curvature of the spine but not about anything like this."
Emotions aside, Kristi told the Daily Mail that she hopes their story will help raise awareness.
"Watch your baby and know your baby,” she said. “If something doesn't seem quite right, take them straight to hospital.”