Megan Norris is a single mom, a student, and a night employee in the food service industry. Traditional daycare was not an option for her.
She found a babysitter after placing an ad on Facebook, according to NBC DFW. Norris interviewed the woman extensively, even taking a tour of her home before hiring her. She was under the impression that the sitter was splitting her attention between her son and one other child.
When she got a call from investigators around 10:30 p.m. Monday night telling her to leave work, Norris feared the worst.Screenshot/NBC DFW
Upon arriving at the babysitter’s Texas home, Norris learned that she had been supervising nearly a dozen other children. The overload of clients caused the sitter to forget about one of her babies, resulting in the death of 9-month-old John Norris.
After feeding the infant, the sitter strapped John in his car seat before putting him in a walk-in closet so that he could sleep. When she went back to check on him two hours later, the baby had died.
According to police, the infant wasn’t strapped into the car seat properly, causing him to slide down and suffocate. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner ruled the baby’s death an accident.
Nonetheless, Norris is devastated over the loss of her child.Screenshot/NBC DFW
“I couldn’t have been more blessed with another child. He changed my life, he really did. He made me a better person, without a doubt. He changed my life in so many ways and to completely backtrack on how far I have come over this would not be fair to him. So, I am living, still, for him and trying to get through every day trying not to completely fall apart.”
The single mom never noticed any warning signs when dropping her son off in the afternoons. No bruises, no cuts, no signs of neglect, nor any sight of “other parents coming and going,” nothing to tip her off that such a tragedy would transpire.
After some time, the babysitter had mentioned to Norris that her older niece and nephew were coming to live with her as well. Norris took comfort in the fact that the Tarrant County Department of Family and Protective Services had placed children in her home. Norris’s mom, Lisa Crow, said:
“So they should not have placed children there if there were any red flags; that reaffirmed her belief that she had a quality person watching her child.”
Furthermore, investigators do not believe that the babysitter engaged in any foul play. However, NBC DFW reported that doesn’t mean criminal charges are off the table.
The babysitter has currently lost the privilege to care for any other children during the investigation.
“Devastated” without her baby, Norris will remember the infant as, “a sweet child who laughed and smiled a lot.” He’d just began crawling the day before his untimely death.
Norris says she doesn’t want any other parent to suffer a similar tragedy. She recognizes the myriad of other young, working parents out there who may be looking for childcare providers. As a result, she recommends parents:
“[Use] only licensed caregivers or, at the very least, conduct in-depth investigations of those with whom they leave their children.”
She implores parents to “do more.”
In addition, to avoid accidents such as mis-fastening a seatbelt, it is important to properly strap a child in their car seats. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website give tips to parents on how to position their children safely:
Remove bulky clothing or unnecessary layers.
Place your child so their backside is flush against the seat without arching or slouching.
All straps should lie flat against your child without twists or knots.
Straps should be snug but not too tight.
The chest clip should sit level with their armpits.
The shoulder straps should connect to the seat at or directly below their shoulders.
Furthermore, ensuring that a child is in the right car seat for their age is imperative to road and car seat safety.
Norris is grateful to the first responders for their quick and thorough action in the case. Despite their best efforts though, Norris had to say a final goodbye to her sweet baby. She said:
“His smiles, giggles and coos lit up my life, every single day that God blessed me with him.”
And while she is thankful for the moments she had with him, she said: “I am devastated without my precious baby.”