Babysitter Who Refused to Give Baby Back to Mother Was Just Doing Her Job

OMG 128

carseatShould a child care worker ever hand over a baby to a drunk parent? A New Year's Eve fight broke out over that question when a "highly intoxicated" mother attempted to pick up her 2-month-old baby from a babysitter. She attacked two other people and was later arrested.

This was not just an argument, either. The mother hit one of the victims several times in the face, arms, and chest, and the second victim in the face. I don't know where the baby was during this fight, but I just hope he or she was a safe distance from this altercation and not in one of the victims' arms. I guess I'd have to hear more about the story to really say ... but maybe it was a good call not to let the baby go home with the mother?

I can imagine the mama-bear rage that would be unleashed if a sitter refused to hand over a baby. I'm sure the mother was outraged (and maybe a little embarrassed) to be told she was too drunk to take her baby. And then of course there's that lingering threat hanging over that accusation -- if you're too drunk to take your baby home, maybe you're a lousy mother. Maybe you're a total screw-up in life.

I don't know if the mother was driving, either. I would feel less nervous about sending a baby home with a drunk mother if I knew she at least had a safe way to get home. (I would still feel uneasy, though.) But if I knew she was getting behind the wheel of a car with that baby? No way. Better to suffer the mom's wrath than to let an accident happen.

People in that state can become irrational -- and dangerous. But what if the mother wasn't really that drunk? What if it was just a bad judgement call? I don't know that I'm completely comfortable with the idea of a sitter being in the position to make that call. I've come home to a sitter after parties or dinners where I did have something to drink. I don't like getting drunk in the first place, so I've never been in that position. But I think I'd get kind of defensive if I came home a little "happy" and was then accused of being unfit to stay with my baby. 

I guess when in doubt, the sitters should call the police. But what are you supposed to do while you wait for them to arrive? For all I know, that's what these two people did, and the fight broke out while they were waiting for the police to arrive and make the call. Still, you could look at it this way: These two people may have saved a baby's life.

Do you think a babysitter should refuse to hand over a child to their parent if they suspect the parent is drunk?


Image via Deborah Austin/Flickr

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If the mother was clearly highly very drunk and would be going home alone with the baby then I would agree with the sitter.  That sounds like it was the case.  If however there was a signifiant other or realtive waiting at home and the mother wasn't driving then the sitter had no right to refuse to hand over the child.

acrog... acrogodess

I absolutely would not hand a child in my care to be driven home by a drunk parent. That would be just cause for me to lose all my certifications as a child care provider.

bookl... booklover74

Having been a child care provider and having taken the liscensing classes I have learned it is not legal to refuse to turn a child over to the rightful parents. This may vary from state to state. If you suspect they are too drunk, intent on harming the child, don't have the right carseat or whatever the reason you still hand them over and then call police. You give the police the licence number and description and let them take it from there or you might be arrested for kidnapping.

I didn't read the article link but in general I don't think it's a judgement call for a sitter to decide if a parent is capable of caring for a child at that moment. Many people are of the opinion that even one drink makes a parent unfit to care for children. Others might only be concerned if they had to many to drive safely but wouldn't care if somone else was driving. others should not impose their opinions like that. if you are that terribly concerned call the police, hand over the child and let the police make the judgement call.

bookl... booklover74

So I read the article. The deputy states she was "highly intoxicated" however does not state what a breathalizer registered at and she was charged with anything relating being intoxicated, such as public intoxication. She was charged with assult. if she was "highly intoxicated"  then why no breathalizer score and why no charges relating to public drunkeness? I find that a bit suspect. Police seem to really enjoy charging those who are drunk and fighting with public drunkenes crimes and article really like to share breathalizer numbers if they exist.

The article also gives no mention iif she was alone, with someone, driving herself, had a ride or any other terribly important details.

It's very possiblle she had a drink or two to celebrate the evening, was not  drunk or highly intoxicated, but was very agitated, angry and threatened by a sister who decided she was in a position to keep the baby from the mom. may the gods be with the person that told me they weren't giving me my child.

Sharon Steedley Powell

If this Mom was driving, I believe the sitter was right. I can't imagine handing a child over to a drunk parent who was driving.

MsBlu... MsBlueKitty

I would have offered to take care of the baby for the night free of charge. I think it's totally logical the mother retaliated. Duh, mama bear instincts! But I think baby sitters need to offer a full night service on new years eve or simular circumstances. It's sad that a mother would go and get that drunk. I worry about children exposed to that :(

Jennifer Verbanac

As a daycare provider, it is illegal for me to give a child to a parent if I feel they are intoxicated or high on anything. If I give a child over and anything happens to the child, I will also have child neglect charges pressed on me by the state. I have been yelled at and threatened by parents before, but it turns out it was for the childs best that I took it and made the calls to the proper legal departments. We also have required classes in WI we take to help us identify drunk vs "happy" parents.

Gilesmt Gilesmt

I can speak for only Massachusetts although I think in Washington also. At least a few years back, it is illegal for a daycare provider, babysitter to not relinquish the care to the parent, they have to relinquish the child. I was told to always try to have someone at least old enough to call 911 and ask for police to come while I try to prolong the parents leaving, talk about the weather, tell the parent you will get the baby in the car seat and take a long time, try to get the parent to talk about other things like the tree planted eight months ago in your front yard, anything to stall them, get the license plate just incase, and pray that the police show up before they leave. But never refuse, that is call custodial interferance and it is a felony charge and you will lose your license to be a provider, end up in jail and may have CPS on you butt.if the parent shows up drunk report it to CPS also, but unless the police write a report of child endangerment they won't do anything. This is from experience, I had a mom come almost daily to pick up a child after she was drinking. It took almost 2 months and getting dad involved before she was placed in dads care, but both police and CPS told me over and over again, I was to allowed to stop mom from taking her, she was the legal custodial parent and I could not interfer with her right to have her child, it was up to police to determine if the child was endangered.

Momto... MomtoDavid

I think she should have called the police and turned the baby over to the police to avoid confrontation. That said, I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old and when either my husband or I feels like having a drink, one of us must be sober. We will have a glass of wine or champayne together, but if one of us goes out, the other stays sober. I've only been crazy sick drunk once since my 2 year old was born and since we co-slept at the time, even in my drunken pukey state, I asked my husband to sleep with our daughter while I slept on an air mattress. She was about 16 months old at the time and I was scared that I wouldn't wake up and roll on her or pull the blanket over her. 

There are also times when my husband will go out with his friends and just crash at thier place so he doesn't have to drive home. Just because you want to have fun, doesn't mean you can't plan in advance and be responsible. My husband and I have only gone out together a few times when our first child was just a baby, and we always left him at my mothers house, so we could let loose and have fun without having to worry about being responsible. 

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