Amber Scorah and Ali Dodd share a heartbreaking bond. Both moms had infant sons who died in day care, and now they’re working together to help prevent other mothers and fathers from experiencing the same loss.
The two women delivered petitions to both presidential candidates earlier this week, calling on them to take action toward creating a paid family leave policy in their first 100 days if elected, reports New York’s Pix11 News.
In April of last year, Ali Dodd of Oklahoma City was forced to return to work, which offered no paid maternity leave, after taking 10 weeks off following the birth of her son. (She and her husband had saved up enough money to afford the time off.) Dodd’s 11-week-old son Shepard was only in his sixth day of day care when he died.
“A child-care worker swaddled him for a nap, placed him in a car seat and didn’t check on him,” Dodd wrote earlier this year for USA Today. “He slipped down and suffocated, still too little to lift up his own head.”
Just a few months later, in July 2015, Amber Scorah’s 3-month-old son Karl died during a nap at a daycare in New York City. It was Karl’s first day at the SoHo facility and Scorah’s first day back at work after her request for additional time off—paid or unpaid—couldn’t be accommodated. In Scorah’s case, a medical examiner wasn’t able to determine the cause of her son's death.
"Most babies don't die in day care, of course," Dodd and Scorah acknowledge in their Change.org petition, which has received nearly 136,000 signatures. "But as it turns out,” they go on to write, “our instinct that Karl and Shepard would be safer if we could have stayed with them a little longer was not wrong."
Dodd and Scorah also note that “one in 4 American moms have no choice but to return to work just two weeks after the birth of a child.” To further support their appeal to the politicians, they reference a recent study from McGill University and UCLA Fielding School of Public Health that found “for each additional month that a woman has paid parental leave, infant mortality goes down 13 percent.”
“Parental leave is a necessity, not a perk,” the mothers write.
On August 22, the two moms left a copy of the petition for Republican nominee Donald Trump at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and planned to meet with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign staff at its Brooklyn headquarters, Pix11 reported.