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

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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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Kimberly Lilly

femalemike, I was once refused when I tried to buy a drink from the supermarket because the cashier said that I smelled of alcohol. Considering I had had absolutely nothing to drink, her claim was incredibly suspect. Don't assume that all teetotalers are honest. Some of them are suffering from a stick a mile wide in their posteriors... and I say that as someone who very, very rarely drinks.

chand... chandlerjsmom

In many states if a child care provider lets a child leave their care with a drunk parent and something happens they can be charged with a crime.

Amanda Blair

I believe the babysitter did the right thing. Many questions are asked rather it was within the law for this babysitter to keep the baby from it's drink mother, I do not know the answere here, but what i do know is that driving a car drunk is illegal, so here you gotta take the lesser of the two evils, the babysitter may have saved that childs life.

candy... candyw210

I think the sitter did the right thing. even if someone else was driving the mom home; who's to say they would have stayed at the house with the drunk mother? So even if she had a ride home I would ask if the sober party was staying with the mom, because if not an accident could have happened at the home while the mom was alone drunk with the baby! The sitter definitely was in the right and did call the police so it wouldn't seem like she was just refusing to give the baby to it's mother. If you are that irresponsible to get drunk, then you are too irresponsible to care for your child at the moment. And i hope CPS steps in to make sure this woman is a fit mother at home if this is her behavior.

Patti Drury

I totally agree with the sitter. As a mother myself I'd rather pay for an overnight sitter or send them to Grandma's. You don't give a baby to a drunk person no matter WHO it is. One drink is enough to cloud a person's judgement.

Marissa Danielle Crane

Not only do I agree with her witholding the child, but I commend them. It takes a lot of guts to do something like that. No one wants to be "that person"; but sometimes, it has to be you. Good job whoever you are!

nonmember avatar Realityhurts

At least the babysitter had common sense, and didnt hand over to the mom who was highly intoxicated, mom in the ohter hand is retarded, she should of known the limit to drink in the first place or had a designated least, ghaa! >.

cdjak cdjak

I haven't even read all the comments, but I see some problems with some so far. First, a babysitter who is acting in the best interest of the child she is watching will not be arrested, ticketed or otherwise charged with kidnapping, interfering or anything else. That child care provider is bound by law to protect the child, call the authorities if the child is at risk, and not relinquish a child to an unsafe situation. Just because there was another person with the mother does not mean that person will assume responsibility for the baby. It may just have been a friend who was going to drop her off at home. There is no 'slippery slope' here. An intoxicated person does not have the judgement to decide if they are competent to care for a baby. If she was a breastfeeding mother, this puts the baby at even more risk. Finally, intoxicated or not, anyone who becomes violent in my presence will not be handed a baby at that moment. The babysitter was right to get the police involved. Perhaps the mother should either lose custody until she learns appropriate parenting (don't get drunk when you are a mother of a baby!) or at the least, court ordered parenting classes. 

Nycti... Nyctimene

Erm, I don't care what sort of 'mama bear' excuse you want to put forth. If your first response is to start throwing fists then there's more of a problem with the mother (or any parent) than whether they're drunk at that moment or not. I don't think being drunk changes your personality that much. If this mother was willing to throw down as an answer to anyhting less than being physically attacked herself then I think Social workers probably need to take a close look at her because I think there's probably more to it there than alcohol.

In any event, I think the sitter did the right thing.

Mahala Aldridge-Dixson

What would the headlines have read if the babysitter HAD given the baby back to the drunk mother?  "Awful Sitter Hands Over Innocent Baby to Drunk Mother and They Die In a Car Crash"   Then the sitter would have been ripped up one side and down the other for "causing" this babies death and she should have "done something" or "known better" than to allow the mom to leave with the baby.  I say they did the right thing. 

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