Taliah Brigham was 11 months old when she was left to fall asleep in a car seat inside her day care in 2016.
According to the Indianapolis Star, day care worker Karen Tharpe placed Taliah in the car seat and buckled her shoulder straps, but she forgot to buckle the strap between her legs.
The baby slipped down into the seat and was strangled by the belt. Tharpe returned five minutes later and found the baby unresponsive.
— WTHR.com (@WTHRcom) April 8, 2016
A parent called the police after visiting Miracles and Blessings Daycare Ministry to bring birthday decorations for another child.
Officers arrived to find a day care worker rubbing the abdomen of an infant, who was blue, when they arrived. There was also a stain of formula mixed with blood on the floor.
Taliah was unconscious and not breathing when she was brought to the hospital. She was pronounced dead on April 7, 2016, at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis.
This is Taliah Jane Brigham.She was found unconscious in a car seat inside of a speedway daycare & later died. pic.twitter.com/ezq1nkvnm8
— Alexis McAdams ABC-7 (@AlexisMcAdamsTV) April 8, 2016
This week, Tharpe was found guilty of reckless supervision by a child care provider, which is a level 6 felony. The day care’s owner, Jacqueline Murray, will soon face trial for knowingly leaving Tharpe responsible for the care of 36 children in three different rooms.
Prosecutor Terry Curry warned in a news conference:
“A car seat is not the best way to secure your child unless you are in a car.”
Sadly, this isn’t the only case of a baby dying in a car seat.
Mom Ali Dodd lost her son, Shepard, on April 6, 2015, almost exactly a year before Taliah died, when a day care worker left him alone in a car seat for three hours.
Dodd argues that cases like these will continue until legislation is put in place to teach day care workers about the importance of safe sleeping practices.
This page will be quiet for a few days so as a family we take time to remember our little boy. Today two years ago was…
Since Shepard died, Dodd has been working to push forward legislation in her home state of Oklahoma to ensure babies are no longer left in car seats. But there currently aren’t any federal laws to teach day care workers about safe sleep.
In a previous interview with Dearly, Dodd said she’s been lobbying alongside Child Care Aware to promote safe sleeping practices:
“We want day care providers to take a two-hour required course on safe sleeping every other year. Childcare providers are currently mandated to learn CPR, but it’s only useful once something has gone terribly wrong and then the training can only help for preventative measures.”
We are here with Dr. Lynette Fraga with Child Care Aware and Ali Dodd with Shepard's Watch who advocates for quality day care. Ali started sharing her story after losing her baby son in a tragic accident at daycare…
Posted by Dearly on Monday, April 24, 2017
- Only using car seats to protect babies in the car
- Strap the baby securely to prevent sliding
- Never leave the child unattended
- Don’t place bumpers, pillows, or other objects in cribs
- Always place babies on their backs to sleep
- Babies should sleep in a crib with a fitted sheet
- Don’t allow babies to sleep in car seats, swings, or bouncers
In order for parents to protect their children from unsafe sleeping practices at day care providers, Shepard’s Watch recommends asking day care providers about safe sleeping certifications and to check to see if the day care has any public citations online.
Although the presence of a certification won’t ensure that a child will be safe, it is statistically more likely that children will be safer in a certified location than a non-certified day care.
According to Fox 59, the state of Indiana decertified the day care after Taliah passed away. It has since been closed down.