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

by Adriana Velez on January 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

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

Filed Under: childcare, in the news

Comments

128
  • handy...
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    handy0318

    January 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    This is a no-brainer, you don't hand a baby to a person you strongly suspect is drunk.


  • femal...
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    femaleMIKE

    January 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    If you can smell the liquor on someone then they are too drunk.  Its not about being too happy and you are assumed to be drunk. There is usually the smell, the walk, the eyes, the tone of voice  etc that tells you the person is too drunk. 

    The sitter did the right thing.


  • doodledo
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    doodledo

    January 15, 2013 at 11:38 AM
    Of course not. The mother should be thanking that sitter. I wonder if the sitter had handed over the baby to the drunk mom and then an accident had happened and harmed the baby while in the care of drunk mom, if the drunk mom would have sued the sitter? I have never been drunk since I have become a mom and have no plans to be a drunk mom in my future.
  • Coles...
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    Coles_mom

    January 15, 2013 at 11:42 AM
    I haven't read whether or not she was driving. If she wasn't driving and had someone else with her- then maybe babysitter overstepped. If she was getting behind the wheel, then yes- babysitter did the right thing.
  • Mamab...
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    MamabearC

    January 15, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    A slippery slope if you ask me. I don't know what the legal responsibilities of the babysitter are/whether this is legal for them to do or not.Ultimately the #1 priority here is the well-being of the child/children and if the parent is so obviously not in control of themselves verbally,mentally and or physically enough that it makes the sitter question the ability to care for the child/children then I think they SHOULD say/do something. I mean, it's something that is easily proven or dis-proven by a breathalyzer test.After making SURE that there aren't any sober/responsible ppl to do childcare,give the parent the option of either: a)the babysitter continuing to watch the child overnight or arranging for a relative to do so, b)calling the police and getting them involved.c)plying them with coffee until they sober up. When you put your child in my care, it IS my business to make sure that I am not relinquishing that child over into a dangerous situation. BUT the babysitter, should they be in this situation, better be DAMN SURE that they are absolutely correct in their accusation or there should be a penalty,like a ticket perhaps. This particular case I'm unsure of, there isn't enough info, imo...did she get violent out of normal mamabear instinct(from her child beong held from her) or was she just being a violent drunk?Was she driving? Was she stumbling,etc? Yep, a slippery slope for sure...


  • HS
    -- Nonmember comment from

    HS

    January 15, 2013 at 1:10 PM
    My son's grandmother was a home daycare provider for many many years. She would have parents come pickup their child without a carseat. She would not turn the child over to the parent until they had a carseat in the car. The fact is, when you turn your child over to a provider, even just a babysitter, that person ultimately becomes responsible for the well being of the child. They begin to assume parental rights almost. They absolutely have the right to not turn over "their" child until they are sure said child is safe. It can also be compared to daycare centers. Parents have to physically walk the child into their classroom and sign them in, turning responsibility over to the daycare. I can absolutely understand why the babysitters did what they did in this case. I'm curious as to why the mom came to get the child in the middle of the night. Or was it the next morning? Also, the baby was still very young so raging pregnancy hormones mixed with alcohol surely made her even more irrational. Mom may have started having separation anxiety which would explain the late night pickup and violent behavior.
  • Heath...
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    HeatherJo11

    January 15, 2013 at 5:23 PM
    I do understand the momma bear instinct. When someone refuses to turn over your child to you. I'd be pissed too. Compound that with alcohol, ya recipe for disaster. So I get the feeling that mom probably had. BUT I wouldn't have been going out or drinking with an 8 week old baby anyway. It does sound like she was obviously fairly intoxicated. Now if I had only had a couple glasses of wine & was just a bit happy, I think it would be wrong to not give the baby to its mom. If you're falling down drunk (like it sounds was the case) I might be irritated & act like a moron, but the next day, I would be extremely thankful for a caring & intelligent baby sitter. Which I hope is how this works out. That the mom realizes she may have been in the wrong & her babysitter was only trying to be a good caregiver.
  • GlowW...
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    GlowWorm889

    January 15, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    The woman wasn't just a little drunk...the police wrote that she was "highly intoxicated" when they confronted her. That's going to come off quite obviously even to an untrained eye. The more appropriate thing to do (and what most schools/daycares do) would have been to invite Mom in and stall her from leaving while someone else calls the police to deal with the situation. However, I don't fault the babysitter for not allowing Mom to take her baby in that state and I would have done the same thing. And if Mom was smart, she'd realize she was in the wrong and thank the babysitter for looking out for her child's welfare.


  • tuffy...
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    tuffymama

    January 15, 2013 at 7:32 PM
    Smart sitter. Didn't we JUST read on The Stir that a woman took a pill and rolled over on her infant and it died? And that is the least dangerous thing that could have happened to the infant in this case!
  • Nelli...
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    NellieAthome

    January 16, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Since all the mother was charged with was misdemeanor battery and not drunk driving I'd say she was not alone and that the other person was sober enough to be responsible thus the babysitter is lucky the woman fought her (battery) otherwise the sitter could have been charged with custodial interference or even kidnapping.


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