A grieving mom, stuck in jail thanks to our self-satisfied conviction that bad things only happen to bad people.

Baby Accidentally Suffocates While Mom Gets Her Bottle. Mom Charged With Her Death

This letter struck me as absolutely right: 
 Dear Free-Range Kids: This article appeared on my FB.  http://www.kcci.com/article/mom-charged-after-child-dies-in-changing-table-incident/8588247 
 
The highlight: “The fact that she left the child alone for an extended period of time is what makes it criminal,” Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek said.”
 
My thoughts: She should not be charged as a criminal.  This is an ACCIDENT.  She did not INTEND for her daughter to die.  They don’t describe how long the child was left, but I’d take the mom at her word that it wasn’t very long, probably a few minutes.  If leaving a child for a few minutes is considered criminal then, will someone please explain to me as a new mother of a 6 month old how the heck I’m supposed to get anything done?  (laundry? working from home? sleeping?  cooking?)  Is it expected that I keep my eyes on my baby all the time?  
  
Lisa
Here is part of the heartbreaking article:

A Des Moines mother has been charged months after her child died when she suffocated on a changing table.

The incident happened in September in the 800 block of East Lacona Avenue. Charges were filed Wednesday in the case.

Laci Lynn Taylor, 26, is charged with child endangerment resulting in death.

According to court documents, Taylor left the child unattended on a changing table. While she was out of the room, the child rolled over, and as a result, her neck was compressed on the ledge of the changing table, cutting off her airway. Police said the incident resulted in the child’s death.

The incident did cause the child’s death. The mom, I would say, did not. Here’s her husband’s take:

Don Taylor, said his child’s death was a horrible freak accident that could happen to anyone.

“I have no ounce in my body that blames my wife at all,” Taylor’s husband Don said.

Bless that man. He has been living with his sorrow and horror for four months. But he has not been able to be there for his wife — and vice versa — because she is in jail.

“She was actually getting my daughter a bottle, and that’s what happened, and that’s why she wasn’t in the room at that point,” Don Taylor said.

Don Taylor said his wife was an excellent mother who doted on her two girls. The couple has tattoos remembering the 3-month-old they lost.

“There is not one day that we both don’t think about her, and the memories of that day is still in our head,” Don Taylor said. “I wake up every morning with … in a panic attack because I hear my wife screaming my daughter’s name. That’s what I have to live with every day.”

Police said the investigation took four months because they ran several medical tests on the baby and did multiple interviews. Laci Taylor is being held in the Polk County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 cash bond.

GET THAT MOTHER OUT OF JAIL! Do the cops really believe she is a threat to anyone? This is just pointless cruelty.

But the charges are even more cruel. They are based on the sickeningly simplistic, self-satisfied belief that bad things only happen to bad people, or their children. Somehow, we are happy to pretend that every decent mom does everything exactly right. If something happens while she’s not watching, well, there’s your proof: A mom took her eyes off her child and death swooped in. She shoulda known.

She faces a possible maximum of 25 years in prison.

I’m not saying it is wise to leave a baby on the changing table. Of course it isn’t.  The cops claim she spent 15 minutes out of the room. Perhaps that’s so. What I am saying is that I have done things just as ill-thought out, dumb and/or potentially dangerous, and that doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom. It only means I’m lucky, and Laci Lynn Taylor was tragically unlucky.

Locking her up is criminal. – L

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A grieving mom, stuck in jail thanks to our self-satisfied belief that bad things only happen to bad people.

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30 Responses to Baby Accidentally Suffocates While Mom Gets Her Bottle. Mom Charged With Her Death

  1. Neil M January 20, 2017 at 11:23 am #

    How terrible that this happened, and how terrible that the state is choosing to view this as prosecutable.

  2. Jason January 20, 2017 at 11:57 am #

    Such is the arbitrary and capricious nature of the “justice” system in this country.

  3. Jess January 20, 2017 at 11:59 am #

    Lucky and unlucky is right. I think of how many times my kids have almost been seriously injured, and a few where they could have been killed. How lucky was it that I looked at the right moment, that I came back into the room, that a stranger found my kid and brought him back to me. Logically, I recognize that we live in a pretty safe world, but that doesn’t stop me from having a panic attack when my five-year-old keeps darting off in the parking lot. Sadly, I think about how lucky I’ve been to not be attacked for my parenting choices, but it would only take one moment of bad luck, one illogical, unreasonable prosecutor to see the results of my reasonable parenting choices as choosing to hurt my child, and I would be in her shoes. A mother’s eyes are not a good luck charm. We need to keep supporting one another, stop judging one another’s reasonable choices – because there has to be a trade-of somewhere – and comfort those who have suffered tragic accidents such as these instead of traumatizing them further.

  4. John B. January 20, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    I’m guessing (hoping) that a reasonable Judge, after reviewing this case, will throw it out. If it wasn’t bad enough that her baby died in some freak accident, now they’ve got to pile it on her and throw her in jail. This is a human rights violation that serves no purpose. If anything, her intense grief over this incident is her punishment.

  5. April January 20, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    This is so sad I can not imagine being this mom.

  6. Shawn D. January 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

    Terrible. Incidents like these are neither criminal nor astoundingly negligent. As has been said, it isn’t wise to leave a baby on a changing table, but it is not willful harm.

  7. Patricia Boucher January 20, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    Is there no compassion for this grieving mother?
    She should be sent to a healing environment to ease the suffering not a prison.

  8. Margot January 20, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    I have seen many stories of falls from change tables in my work. Early childhood nurses remind new parents constantly not to leave babies of any age alone on them. Lots of kids work out rolling very early on. It is absolutely negligent but not because the child might block off her airway. That’s just freaky. A penalty should apply for negligence. This neglect was a considered choice as opposed to those poor souls who accidentally left the baby in the car on a hot day. However of course this mother didn’t intentionally cause harm. She has surely suffered enough. How will jail help? This is clearly ridiculous.

  9. Reziac January 20, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    By this logic, every time your child isn’t locked in a smoothwalled cage, you must hover over them just in case they do any of the zillion unpredictable things kids do. And maybe you should watch over the safely caged child too, because who knows what might happen if your eyes roam even for a moment.

  10. Mollys January 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    Disgusting. Makes me so sad. This right here is what’s wrong with our country. Not enough compassion, too much busybody blaming.

  11. Dienne January 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    On the other hand, I was just in court following an assault on the El in which a guy took my cell phone out of my hand and whacked me across the face with it, in addition to trying to take my bag and other assorted pushing and punching. He got 6 months supervision (he has a prior conviction). I dunno, his act seems a little more, what’s the word … intentional than this mom’s act. And I definitely think he poses a greater future threat to the public than she does. But, hey, that’s why we call it a “justice” system.

  12. Andrea D. January 20, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

    My kid rolled off the changing table once while I was standing right there. Anything could have happened. This is sickening. That poor family.

  13. Andrea January 20, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    So what if this happened when the baby was in the crib?

    Also, is the death of her child not punishment enough? I really hate America sometimes.

  14. bluebird of bitterness January 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

    The irony of this story is that the ledge on the changing table is what killed the baby — without it, she would have rolled off and hit the floor, which would have been scary but most likely would not have resulted in lasting damage. The ledge was put there to prevent babies from rolling off. I’m so old that I can remember when changing tables didn’t have ledges. When I was a very young and inexperienced babysitter, I once left a tiny infant on his changing table for a few seconds, and you can guess what happened next — he landed on the floor with a sickening thud, followed by a blood-curdling shriek. Luckily for everyone, there was no permanent damage done, and the incident was soon forgotten.

    The point is that the ledge that ended up suffocating the little girl was put there as a safety feature — yet more proof that it’s impossible for anything ever to be 100% safe, and we’re living in fantasy land if we think we can arrange our environment in such a way that accidents will never happen.

    As for the mother in this story, she has suffered enough, and will continue to suffer every day for the rest of her life. For God’s sake, let the poor woman go and leave her alone.

  15. Iowa, good grief January 20, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

    This is typical Iowa…..Prosecutors exhibiting lack of judgement as usual….you can online search the crazy cases they come up with where children are involved…

    I bet they would charge a parent for leaving their child alone for two minutes to relieve themselves if something happened to the child and the child was not with them….then they could charge the parent with exposure if the child was with them when the relieved themselves and say the child has suffered traumatically blah blah blah…..

    This mother needs to be let out with charges dropped…she has a lifetime of grief already….

  16. Papilio January 20, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

    “I really hate America sometimes.” Such an appropriate comment today…

  17. Marie January 20, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

    This mother had no intent to kill her child. People are human. Jail time punishes the rest of her devastated family who needs their wife and mother more than ever. Not to mention costs the taxpayers and does nothing to “keep society safe”. No punishment can be worse than the death of her child.
    It makes me sad to read all the condemning comments. I think our culture is too fast to blame and punishment and needs a little more compassion.

    What drove me most crazy in comments I saw on Facebook is that there were some people who went through her Facebook photos and piled on comments about agregious parenting horrors like having a seatbelt shoulder strap behind a child in a car seat (while still buckled) in a PARKED car.

    Parent police in full effect.

  18. Silver Fang January 21, 2017 at 12:18 am #

    This should strike fear into the hearts of parents who let their kids play in their rooms or go out in the backyard unsupervised.

  19. ezymel January 21, 2017 at 2:31 am #

    The mom did not deliberately do this. She must not be branded as a criminal and the State should not prosecute her. Maybe a hearing is at stake and of course she still has to be defended. If you left a baby in a crib, or in a play pen, generally no harm comes to the baby. But, in rare instances, something can happen. You never know. It is something we are unable to predict. This is very unfortunate and my heart goes out to her. I am very sorry for your loss.

  20. Annie Gramson Hill January 21, 2017 at 5:15 am #

    Thanks for this heartbreaking story. Once authorities start on a crusade of self-righteousness, they are almost “duty bound” to inflict enormous cruelty on others as a way to demonstrate their disgust with their moral inferiors.
    In other words, the greater their demonstrable cruelty, the greater their moral outrage, and thus, superiority.
    From this perspective, those of us not wishing to inflict further pain on this woman are not compassionate (or sane), we are suspect.
    We are suspect because perhaps we are outing ourselves as equally morally inferior to the person we refuse to condemn.
    Remember Winston Smith from Orwell’s 1984? What was one of the most important duties of every Party member? Effective participation in the two minutes of hate demonstrations. You couldn’t just yell, or it might give you away as not really having your heart in it. Winston dreaded these rallies, but found that within a minute, he could be carried away by the orgiastic frenzy of the crowd.
    Perhaps someone needs to organize a movement to protect those of us who don’t want to participate in these circle jerks, and would like to prevent others from being subjected to this.
    Sorry to put it so crudely, but we are living in crude times.

  21. donald January 21, 2017 at 8:45 am #

    I really don’t like simplistic thinking. It is or it isn’t, it’s us or it’s them’ she’s safe or she’s not. Not only does this thinking rules out any shades of grey, it is terrible at assessing risk. (she’s safe or she’s not) It doesn’t see a difference of a 1/1000 or a 1/1000,000 chance of injury. It also sees all injury the same.

    I still remember my zombie like state when my child was 3 months old. I didn’t have the best judgement. It’s all too easy for a prosecutor (that has perfect 20/20 vision from the hindsight) to get caught up with the tsunami of outrage. (people LOVE to condemn others) They can:

    1. Forget the zombie like state of being a mother of a 3 month old

    2. Strive for the best prosecuting statistics

    3. Forget that punishment based on revenge makes things worse.

    4. Forget that the poor woman has already suffered with a loss that may haunt her for the rest of her life!

    Our culture of outrage, condemn, and demanding revenge is primarily caused by decades of previous ‘revenge punishments’ of the past. When Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”, he didn’t mean this exclusively about eye gouging. He meant if we keep punishing those we deem cruel, then we’re no better than the bad guys ourselves. It’s the whole “you can’t solve violence with violence” spiel. George Bush tried to eliminate terrorism by stirring up fear and hate. That didn’t turn out well either.

    The bloodthirsty masses are there BECAUSE we feed them so well.

  22. Nicole R. January 21, 2017 at 11:29 am #

    “This mother had no intent to kill her child. People are human. Jail time punishes the rest of her devastated family who needs their wife and mother more than ever. Not to mention costs the taxpayers and does nothing to “keep society safe”. No punishment can be worse than the death of her child.”

    This exactly!

    And along the lines of the raised edge changing table, I was wondering about the “seatbelts” I’ve seen on them nowadays – added to prevent kids from falling off. Was the mom using one of these, thereby thinking it was safe to briefly leave the baby there? It could be a case where she otherwise would have taken the baby with her, and the safety feature is actually what trapped the baby in the odd position, unpredictably causing the death.

  23. donald January 21, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    Don’t confuse revenge with justice

    Revenge is predominantly emotional; justice primarily rational.
    Revenge is, by nature, personal; justice is impersonal, impartial, and both a social and legal phenomenon.
    Revenge is an act of vindictiveness; justice, of vindication.
    Revenge is about retaliation; justice about restoring balance.

    The idea is to REDUCE hatred not to increase it through revenge justice.
    This is disgusting and makes me ashamed to be American!

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201402/don-t-confuse-revenge-justice-five-key-differences

  24. Mya Greene January 21, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

    More people need second chances. The justice system should protect, not destroy.

  25. Jessica January 21, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

    I don’t know anything about this particular news story. But I absolutely relate to the fear felt of the new mother who wrote to you. I was in the hospital for a week after giving birth, and I remember taking my son into the bathroom, in my arms, while I used the toilet. Not because I was afraid to leave him in the bassinet– but because I thought that if he started crying during the 30 seconds I was gone, a nurse would hear him and accuse me of negligence for leaving him alone. Years of reading internet commentary about how “you can’t leave your infant alone, NOT EVEN FOR A SECOND” truly led to a feeling akin to panic. How was I supposed to pee? How was I supposed to eat? What about nighttime, when I needed to sleep? How could I load laundry into the machine with a baby in my arms?

  26. donald January 21, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    “Years of reading internet commentary about how “you can’t leave your infant alone, NOT EVEN FOR A SECOND” truly led to a feeling akin to panic. How was I supposed to pee? How was I supposed to eat?”

    These are all very good questions. Unfortunately, this impractical/impossible demand placed on new mothers they has little to do with logic or reality. It’s all about the fun of condemning people. The condemner gets a thrill or temporary self rightness high.

    The condemnee may not have actually done anything wrong but what’s that got to do with it? Why does anyone need an excuse not push someone down (even an already grieving mother) in order to lift themselves up? I wish these lowlifes would get a different hobby they might find as enjoyable such as drowning puppies!

  27. SKL January 22, 2017 at 2:39 am #

    There was a time when the reaction to this tragedy would be “even if she was negligent, she’s been punished more than enough.”

  28. Red January 23, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

    @Jessica: and the reality is that even the infant being in your arms may not be enough. A friend of mine had her infant son die of SIDS while in her arms (in the presence of other people). He stopped breathing, she immediately noticed, infant CPR was performed and the ambulance called.

    He was not able to be revived. They were not able to determine any cause of death other than calling it SIDS.

  29. Jessica January 23, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

    Red–
    An amazing story, and a good reminder that it’s literally impossible to protect a child from all dangers. Ultimately we do what we can and leave it up to God/fate/dumb luck.

  30. son Campbell February 2, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

    Criminalizing simple negligence, those mistakes reasonable human beings make in the course of their lives, just because they are unlucky and suffer greatly, is a very bad, sadistic, and cruel idea.