Parents have been warned by Coroner Stuart Fisher against the dangers of feeding their babies with bottles of milk in a propped up position after a four-month-old boy died.
Feeding in a Propped Up Position
The four-month-old baby named Alex Masters was left in a car seat by his godmother Claire Sawyer. While she fell asleep on the sofa, the baby choked to death from the milk in his bottle.
An inquest was told that Sawyer had given the baby a bottle of milk with a blanket propped underneath it to support it. The coroner said that although it is not illegal, babies feeding on a propped bottle should be supervised intensively.
Lack of Evidence
The infant from Gainsborough was taken to the Lincoln County Hospital last October 3, but the doctors and nurses were not able to save his life.
The godmother, who was babysitting baby Alex overnight, was arrested on a suspicion of murder. However, the criminal charges were never brought due to lack of evidence. The Lincoln Cathedral Centre stated that Sawyer had a history of taking illegal drugs but based on toxicology reports, she had not taken anything during the night that she was looking after the baby.
After being questioned by the mother of the baby, Chloe Masters, Sawyer claimed that she fell asleep after giving the infant a bottle of milk on the sofa.
However, the inquest heard that she informed the nurse that “she killed a baby” after putting him in his car seat and propping a bottle of milk.
After a narrative verdict, Coroner Fisher said that Sawyer is an “unreliable witness” and concluded that she left the baby to feed in a propped up position. The Lincolnshire Police decided that there was no way to prove murder and manslaughter in the case. This decision was supported by the Crown Prosecution Service too. Based on the post-mortem examination, Alex had inhaled milk into his lungs.
It was also found that he had two leg fractures that the police marked as non-accidental but they were not able to determine how he got them since there are a number of people who looked after him near the time of his death.
The mother told the hearing that she would never have allowed Alex to stay with his godmother if she had known that he’s sleeping in a car seat.
This is a lesson for every parent, first-time ones or not. Never feed your babies with bottles of milk in a propped up position.