Baby Dies After Being Left Alone on Changing Table -- but Not From a Fall


Igor Sokolov (breeze)/Shutterstock

When you place a baby on a changing table, it's easy to get distracted reaching for wipes and creams or pitching a dirty diaper into the trash. While most moms and dads who step away from their infants for a second fear that their babies might roll off the edge, there's another danger most parents and caregivers may not even know exists. A 3-month-old baby girl died after suffocating while alone on her changing table. Here's how this unimaginable tragedy occurred.  

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The baby's mother, Laci Lynn Taylor, 26, reportedly left the infant on the changing table and went to fix her a bottle. During that time, according to police in Des Moines, Iowa, who investigated the child's death for four months, the baby rolled over and the way her neck became compressed on the changing table's ledge cut off her airway, resulting in her suffocation.  

Taylor has been charged with child endangerment resulting in death. While it sounds like a terrible accident no parent could ever foresee, Des Moines police sergeant Paul Parizek told KCCI-TV, "The fact that she left the child alone for an extended period of time is what makes it criminal." 

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While police didn't note how long the baby was left unattended, according to the Child Accident Prevention Trust, it only takes a few minutes for a baby to suffocate, as they are too weak to lift their heads or roll themselves over should they move into a position where they can no longer breathe.

If you think about how long it might take to wash a bottle, fill it, and warm it up, right there you have those life-saving "few minutes."  

So awful. And this heartbreaking story is just another reminder of the importance of positioning children safely when sleeping. We've read about so many awful incidents of children suffocating while napping in their car seats or swings -- the Child Accident Prevention Trust urges parents and caregivers to avoid possible suffocation risks by placing infants in their own cribs without blankets or pillows. 

If there's any bright spot in this tragic turn of events, it's that Laci's husband, Don, doesn't blame her. He told KCCI-TV:

"I have no ounce in my body that blames my wife at all. She was actually getting my daughter a bottle, and that's what happened, and that's why she wasn't in the room at that point. They can say whatever they want, but it was an accident."

No doubt Laci is already haunted by the loss of her girl; it's good to know that her partner is there to support her as they grieve this loss together. 

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As her husband stated, "I wake up every morning with ... in a panic attack because I hear my wife screaming my daughter's name. That's what I have to live with every day."

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