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Judge Dismisses Suit Filed After Baby Died of SIDS

HAMPTON – A civil suit against a borough couple regarding the death of an infant they were babysitting has been dismissed.

A lawsuit was filed against Adriana and Eugene Bridge and Allstate insurance company by the baby’s mother, Susan Hanson, after Alicia Marie Hanson died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Three-month-old Alicia died on Jan. 26, 2004, after Mrs. Bridge placed her face down in a wooden playpen for a nap.  Two hours later Mrs. Bridge went to check on the baby, who was unresponsive.

Alicia was taken to Hunterdon Medical Center, where she was declared dead.

The medical examiner ruled the death was from natural causes.  Medical experts for the Bridges and the Hansons agreed the death was the result of sudden infant death syndrome.

In her suit, Mrs. Hanson argued that the use of the playpen as a sleeping area was in violation of safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that have been in place since the early 1990’s.

The Bridges’ attorney, Victor Rotolo of Clinton Township, successfully argued that his clients could not have foreseen Alicia’s death from SIDS.  When the Bridges raise their own children it was customary to place babies on their stomachs to sleep.  She had been babysitting for 38 years and had never been told by any of the parents, including Mrs. Hanson, that their babies should only sleep face up, the court ruling said.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, placing a baby face down to sleep increases the chances of SIDS.  However, the Bridges offered evidence that some babies who sleep on their backs still die from SIDS.

On July 21, Judge Peter Buchsbaum granted the Bridges motion for summary judgment, dismissing the suit.

Hunterdon County Democrat
August 3, 2006

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