Jury finds Bay Area baby suffocated on Evenflo mattress pad, awards parents $8 million

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- A Peninsula couple has been awarded $8 million in a wrongful death case of their baby daughter in 2010. A Redwood City jury found 7-month-old Abigail was suffocated by a mattress pad made by Evenflo. Now, her parents are sharing their story and Evenflo is defending its product.

RELATED: Family starts petition to make mattresses for babies safer

"You walk into a room and she would just light up," said Dave Karow.

Just 7 months old, Abigail Karow stopped breathing at daycare. Her father Dave was out of the country.

"I'm running through the streets of Berlin praying that she's still with us and calling out to her, 'Don't leave, don't leave Abby,'" he said.

Abigail died at the hospital.

The Karows were told she had been asleep on her back in another room at the daycare.

The coroner called it SIDS, and the couple believed it until the police report concluded Abigail had actually been sleeping on her stomach.

"Putting a baby on their stomach is not a crime," said her mother, Tiffany Karow. "And it happens and she should have been able to breathe on that mattress."

A mattress pad inside an Evenflo playard.

Attorney Joe Carcione says the jury found it was the equivalent of a plastic bag.

"You put your baby on that product, the baby can't breathe, and the baby will die," he said.

He hopes this legal victory will lead to change.

"What we need is a law or regulation that says babies need to be able to breathe through the top layer of a mattress pad. Period," said Carcione.

"It's crazy that people just want to say - well, baby dies in a crib it's SIDS let's just all go home," said Dave.

The jury awarded the couple $8 million.

"There's no amount of money that will bring her back, but if someone else doesn't have to go through this, I think it's worth it," said Tiffany.

At trial, Evenflo cited the fact all treating, emergency medical providers and the coroner determined Abby died from SIDS.

In a statement the company says in part:

"Evenflo stands behind the design of its Playyard mattress pad and remains confident it was not the cause of her tragic death. We are extremely disappointed with the verdict of the jury and are considering all options, including an appeal."

The family has started a petition to make these mattresses safer. Click here to learn more.
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