Caring for infants can be time consuming, tiring, and stressful. Regardless, the safety of these small people should always be at the forefront of any caregiver’s mind. Horrible tragedy struck yesterday when this was not the case. Edward Doyle of Hatboro and his family found out first hand that being inebriated when caring for one’s children can be deadly. Edward is currently incarcerated for endangerment of children pending autopsy results of Makayla.
Edward consumed 6 pints of beer at a birthday celebration the Willow Grove American Legion before returning home to continue the evening with his wife and friends by playing cards. Makayla began to cry in her swing and her father went to attend to her. Apparently he tripped and fell with the child, landing on top of her. Checking her over and believing she was “fine”, the baby was then placed back in her swing and her father fell asleep. Later that morning, they noticed the baby was unresponsive and called 911. The baby was pronounced dead at the hospital.
There are a few concerning facts in this situation. First, the 15 month old and two month old children were apparently left alone in the apartment for an undisclosed amount of time. Second, the state of the father while caring for his small infant. The third concern is that no one else in the scenario: Lavelle, his wife, and the neighbors seems to have no concern that the drunken man could aptly care of the children alone in his current physical state.
Small children should not be left alone without adult under any circumstances, especially not ones as small as 2 and 15 months of age. Even more concerning is that the baby was left in the swing, even after the father went to sleep and the mother returned home. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that one limits a baby’s time in the swing to 30 minutes, two times a day. It is also not recommended to allow them to sleep for long periods in swings as it is not safe.
The other two concerns go hand in hand. Not only should another adult have advised against Edward returning home to care of the children alone, he should have had his own concerns about handling his child at his level of inebriation. Common sense dictated that if a person shouldn’t drive after drinking too much, handling a small and delicate child would be an even bigger faux pas. He even mentioned to the police he shouldn’t have been taking care of the baby since he “drank too much”.
Hopefully other parents will see this tragedy as a reminder of how important it is to have a capable person caring for children at all times. If there is celebrating to do, hopefully going forward Edward and others will have a designated and responsible caregiver for the children as many others have a designated driver.