NEW YORK — Two moms whose infant sons died at day care delivered petitions to both presidential candidates Monday, asking that they make national parental leave laws a priority so no other parent suffers their heartbreak.
Amber Scorah, of Brooklyn, was joined by Ali Dodd, a mom from Oklahoma whose infant son also died while at day care.
Both moms acknowledge in the petition that their children's deaths aren't common, but want laws enacted to ensure that U.S. parents can take time to be with their newborns.
"Most babies don't die in day care, of course," their petition reads. "But as it turns out, our instinct that Karl [Scorah Towndrow] and Shepard [Dodd] would be safer if we could have stayed with them a little longer was not wrong."
They are calling on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump to publicly commit to taking action toward creating national paid family leave policy in their first 100 days as president if elected.
They consider paid family leave to be a non partisan issue, as it is one that has brought them together from two different walks of life.
"One of us is from Oklahoma and is a registered Republican," their petition reads. "The other is an unmarried liberal who lives in Brooklyn. But tragedy has a way of bringing people together. Last year, we both lost our babies, infant sons who died at daycare, after we'd left them in childcare to return to work."
The two moms left a copy of the petition at the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue Monday morning.
The Clinton campaign agreed to meet with the moms at the campaign's Brooklyn headquarters Monday afternoon to discuss the petition.
135,183 people signed the petition as of Monday afternoon.
"America has the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation in the world," their change.org petition reads. "Paid leave, in countries that have implemented it, has dramatically lowered infant death rates."
"Parental leave is a necessity, not a perk."
One in four American moms must return to work two weeks after giving birth and eighty-seven percent of American parents don't have access to paid parental leave, according to the petition.
The petition is meant to highlight an issue that many new mothers face just a few weeks after giving birth: they must leave their infants with someone else, typically at a daycare, and face the risk that their infant may die.
Scorah left her son Karl at a daycare in SoHo when he was 4 months old and she had to return to work full time. He died his first day there and a medical examiner could not determine why the seemingly healthy baby died, according to the change.org petition.
Dodd, like Scorah, had to return to work full time, so she took her son Shepard to an Oklahoma daycare. He was swaddled for a nap and placed in a car seat, where he slipped down and suffocated. Daycare workers never checked on him, the petition states.
In her speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump's daughter Ivanka said her father would work to implement family leave policy. Trump himself has been largely silent about the topic.
Part of Clinton's platform is a paid family leave policy that will guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave to new parents.