Obese Nanny Crushes Infant & Brings Out Fat Phobias


A tragedy out of Long Island, New York sounds more like the punchline to a cruel joke. But it's anything but funny. An obese nanny died while babysitting her 1-month-old charge, falling on the baby and suffocating him.

The baby's father -- Michael Baldwin, a TV personality -- found the nanny and then made the gruesome discovery of his son beneath her after he was unable to locate the child elsewhere. It's an unimaginable tragedy made almost worse by the macabre nature of the death.

The woman was described as "extremely heavy" by Detective Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky, who said: "She was extremely large-breasted ... Because of the amount of flesh, it could have caused the baby to suffocate." Horrific. Something one can scarcely imagine as a parent. And yet, as a parent, that kind of obesity would have sent up red flags for me from the start.

In the five years I have been hiring sitters, never once has a woman applied who was anything but fit. I have had hikers who recently completed the Appalachian trail, yoga teachers, runners, and backpackers interview and sit for my kids, and they have all done very, very well. So it's hard for me to even imagine a sedentary person watching my kids.

Now, obviously this nanny was hired to care for a baby. Maybe she was warm and wonderful and had all the makings of a loving nanny for a tiny infant. However, my children are active. They run, they jump, they play. They need to be lifted to reach the monkey bars and played with at the park. We live a lifestyle that includes a great deal of walking. So this is the kind of activity I expect from a person I hire to spend time with my kids.

Would I give an obese applicant a chance if she was qualified? Maybe. If she told me she was active and healthy. It's possible to be healthy and overweight. But we aren't talking about overweight. We are talking about morbidly obese. This has been discussed on CafeMom before, and many agreed that hiring an obese nanny isn't a great idea. Of course, the worry that she might suffocate a baby would never even cross my mind.

Frankly put, if the applicant couldn't walk the miles we walk every day to and from the park or chase my daughter on her bike, I'm not sure she'd be my first choice. Do I feel guilty about it? Sure. But I wouldn't short-change my kids because I feel guilty. The Post article also implies that this woman had health problems besides the obesity, which certainly wouldn't be acceptable. Simply put: A person with ailing health isn't right for the job.

At any rate, we send our thoughts out to these grieving parents for what amounts to a tragic accident. But for other parents, maybe it does warrant a discussion.

Would you hire an obese nanny?


Image via Tobyotter/Flickr

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sarae... saraewrig

As with so many cafemom articles, I just roll my eyes at what I read. First of all, tragic and terrible story. I wish the father of the baby peace in the weeks and months to come.

Second. . ."It is hard for me to imagine a sedentary person watching my kids". . . .REALLY!?!? This is such a weird comment.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I wouldn't hire a nanny period because I'm perfectly capable of raising my own children but if I did she wouldn't be someone in ill health. Someone in her condition would almost certainly be unable to conceive naturally which makes perfect sense since she clearly isn't capable of raising them.

jkm89 jkm89

Ha. I think you just don't like fat people. Health problems, ok yes, I understand that. Fat? God forbid!

cecil... cecillesmommy

As a 300+ former nanny and now nursery room teacher, im upset. While this is a tragedy, and i feel so sad for this family. Not all larger caregivers are like that. I run, jump and play all day, im constantly moving and exercising with my kids. This is just like any other care, in all the good, there's always a little bad. Plus i have one of my own who's 2, and parents always feel a little more relived when i tell them that.

mommix4 mommix4

I would also never hire a nanny either. But if I had to I would consider someone that was overweight. For you to automatically dismiss an obese person that is prejudice and discrimination, which I know you at the stir are against,right?

xavie... xavierlogan09

I wouldn't ever hire a nanny. My heart goes out to the family of the baby and the nanny. Their deaths are tragic and very sad.

momve... momversuswild

What a nightmare all the way around :(

Evalyn Carnate

In home Nannies are kind of bs. But still....we dont even know what was wrong with the woman that caused her death. Certainly she just had a fat attack!...Cause, you know...thats how all us fatties die. Im sure it wasnt her intention to keel over and smother the poor baby. Get over yourselves!

sarap... sarapunkinpie88

I would never hire a fat nanny. A sedentary person could not keep up with my son how I would want them to. That aside, even a thin one could smother an infant if they fell on it. There's just less of a chance because of less mass.

Melis... Melissa042807

What a terrible tragedy. A freak accident is all it is. Freak accidents don't care what you weigh.

My sister in law is morbidly obese, has three kids, and is a GREAT mommy.

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