A Perth mum is sending a warning to all parents after her daughter fell deathly ill following a simple cuddle from a visitor who had a runny nose.

Megan Cockburn had given birth to her second daughter Lyla and was recovering at her mother’s home in Perth when visitors arrived to meet the family’s new addition.

Megan noticed that one of the guests was sniffling and immediately wondered if she should postpone the visit out of concerns for Lyla, who was just two-and-a-half weeks old at the time.

“There’s a lot of excitement around a newborn and people desperately want to meet their new family member and they don’t put into consideration what a slight sniffle can do,” Megan, 35, told Yahoo7 News.

“I didn’t have the courage to say no. It was that fear of offending them, and that you don’t want to be judged for being overprotective.”

Against her better judgement, Megan didn’t mention the visitor’s cold and handed little Lyla over for a cuddle.

“I hoped for the better – and I was wrong,” she said.

“The cuddle was about one minute maybe two and that was enough.”

Several days later Megan noticed her baby was extremely lethargic.

“She wouldn’t wake, she refused to feed and then she had a snuffly nose,” she said.

After the symptoms didn’t improve she rushed Lyla to hospital.

Doctors gave the infant a string of invasive procedures to determine what had caused her to fall sick, including blood tests, a lumbar puncture, cannulas pierced into her hands, arms and feet, and a nasal gastric tube to help her feed.

“It was horrible,” Megan recalled.

Lyla spent five days in hospital, but when her symptoms worsened she was re-admitted for another week.

“The second time she had so much mucus in her airways that she would cough and gag and not clear it herself. She would turn blue and stop breathing,” Megan said.

“You’ve never felt more helpless in your life than watching your little girl struggle like that. You feel guilty as a mum, you do the ‘what ifs’ and ‘I should’ves’… you feel that you could’ve prevented it.”

Learn to say NO!

Megan is sharing her story in the hopes of saving another baby’s life and to remind parents it’s okay to say no.

“I think as mums we need to embrace the word no and not feel guilty using it,” she said. “It’s not a burden if the person takes offence, it’s something they need to work on.

“Say no, close the door on them, because it’s not worth it. When they are that little and that vulnerable, there’s no such thing as being over-protective and over-loving.”

Share your comments below


  • I totally agree. Don’t feel bad at all saying no to people that are sick or have sick children. I have done it before. You are the parent & the one that will look & care for your child when sick so don’t put other people before your baby. It isn’t worth it!

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  • I would never visit a baby when sick. I keep my kids way if they are sick also. Ive had friends annoyed they I havent visited straight away, but they havent had a sick little baby before.

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  • How irresponsible of the visitors who were sick!! I would never go near a newborn if I was unwell!!

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  • I think visitors need to use common sense when visiting new babies. If you are sick or even have a slight sniffle, stay away ESPECIALLY if the babies are premmie. A cold can kill a premmie baby even once they are at home and out of hospital.

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  • The visitor should have known better and used common sense to recover at home.

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  • When ever I meet someone’s newborn I always wear a mask and explain my reasoning that I don’t want to make their child sick. Otherwise I just don’t go near them until I’m feeling better. Better to be safe than sorry

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  • I was always very cautious of who carried my children when there babies. If they had a sniffle or were even near people that were sick I would say no. These days you can’t take the risk. Babies are resilient but also delicate . On the same hand if I were sick or my kids were I would not be visiting someone with a new born.

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  • The visitor shouldn’t have picked up the baby from the first place or offered to cuddle her and knowing they are sick

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  • Problem could have been that the visitor constantly has hayfever from weed and other pollens.
    You can get very similar symptoms too. I have a relative who constantly gets hayfever because of the areas he travels through for work. He had the same problem as when we were at school together. He has tablets which he only takes when it gets really bad and he knows he knows he is going to be in that area fir a few days. He has had a few series of allergy tests

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  • Our friends were actually very good about staying away if they had colds or similar.

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  • my last two were premature I had no trouble saying no

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  • My sister in law made my baby sick. Thankfully not really bad like this baby. But she is a nurse so should have known better. I think the people who are sick have a responsibility too.

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  • Sounded very scary that the baby couldn’t breathe. I always felt that the baby’s microbiome was improved by lots of social contact; but I guess the point comes (especially when breast milk doesn’t have the antibodies either) when someone is sick and the poor kid gets it bad.

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  • Ooh, I think it is wrong and irresponsible for someone to visit a newborn when they are feeling a little sick. It’s not okay. When will people learn.

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  • I think it is very rude for the person who was sick to come and see the newborn when they were ill. I know we all get excited about a new arrival, but there is no way I would risk their health by going to see them when sick. I was not afraid to tell people please dont come when you’re sick to see the baby, but I know that it can be hard for some people to voice their concerns

    Reply

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