3-Year-Old Killed in Fold-Out Couch While Playing With Sisters

Heartbreaking 61

It's terrifying how quickly children can get into trouble. Serious trouble. In the blink of an eye, they can be out the door and down the street. Or something much, much worse. A man has been arrested after he claimed he left his girlfriend's three young children alone for 10 minutes inside their apartment -- and he came back to find the 3-year-old girl stuffed inside the fold-out couch. She was dead.

The girl had reportedly asphyxiated while playing on a fold-out couch with her 10-year-old sister. At least one report says that the couch folded up while the two were on it, trapping the girls inside. The older one managed to crawl out, but the younger girl did not. Their 5-year-old sister was also reportedly inside the Harlem apartment.

There's really no excuse for leaving three children home alone, even if it seems like a safe place for them to be and you'll only be gone for a few minutes. Kids crawl out windows and onto ledges. They turn on stoves. They do all kinds of things.

But perhaps the man, 50-year-old Mohamed Barry, felt that they were okay for a moment with the 10-year-old there. I don't think they were -- and obviously they weren't -- but at that age, I was regularly watching neighborhood kids. Of course, that doesn't mean it was right, and I often wonder what the parents were thinking putting someone so young in charge of their kids. I very much doubt I would have known what to do if one of the little ones choked or a fire broke out.

The man has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child. He definitely deserves the charge, and if he's found guilty, he deserves punishment. However, I don't think this is the kind of mistake that deserves years in prison.

It was a stupid, negligent act -- and one he will regret for the rest of his life.

But what about this fold-out couch. If this is the way it happened, how does a fold-out couch suddenly fold up when kids are on it? Any parent could turn their back for a moment and have this sort of thing happen -- you could be upstairs, in the bathroom, outside in the garden. Scary.

Have your kids ever gotten stuck in something?


Image via maka/Flickr

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bbybl... bbyblueAK

poor kid. where was the mom? I never have had and never will have a fold up couch

Irela... Ireland69

i've heard this happen.  this lady was trapped in one until someone finally got in her apt. and the bad thing the sofa was blocking the door where she was stuck .

nonmember avatar j

I've fallen into a fold out couch before. I was never folded up with the couch but if you sit at the top it flips up and you can tumble under. I was able to crawl out. Also, although I don't agree with it, 10 years old is old enough to be left alone in our state with younger siblings. My neighbor left her 10 year old in charge of her 7 year old all summer long while she was at work. I think that's WAY too much responsibility for a 10 year old who should be enjoying being a kid and not parenting his sister but it's legal here. There would have been no charge. I wonder what the legal age is where this happened.

Bloom... Bloomie79

Yes I had a girlfriend get stuck in a pullout couch while we were playing, I had to get a neighbor to get her out. Very scary. Ten is more than old enough to be left alone with your siblings for 10 minutes, every parent with kids that age has left them "alone" as in not checked on for well over ten minutes. 

Prett... PrettyPants

Poor baby. Unfortunaetly, I can't take this author seriously after her article about how brave a child rapist was and to forgive him. 

Forev... ForeverInLove

No one knows why he stepped out. Could have he been milking a cigarette? I'm sure he's blaiming himself, and he probably feels like ultimate crap. 


Poor girl. May she RIP.

Claire Jumper

When I was about 12 years old or so, I was

elise... elisesmom922

My daughter is 10,has taken first aide and CPR, and has stayed 10 minutes with her sisters and brother before. Here, that isn't illegal, and my daughter is pretty responsible.


This is the first time I have ever heard of this happening to someone.

Crystal Rider

I have left my 3 kids running around while I went to the bathroom. Sometimes I will sit on the toliet for 10 min just to get a min of peace. I am sure this man feels horrible about this. 

Rebecca Fonseca Ortiz

we had a pull out couch and I could barely get the thing to close let alone fold up on someone. I guess it depends on the model. Anything can be a hazzard when it isnt used properly or kids aren't supervised. This could have happened to anyone. From what you read it was a simple accident. Kids in the country use farm equipment younger than the 10 year old. I think that we have to learn to accept that bad things are going to happen and as much as we want to point the finger at someone or something it wont bring this little girl back or make her mom feel any better.

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