Mom Duct Tapes 2-Year-Old For Acting Like… a 2-Year-Old

By Kia Morgan Smith

Lawd knows on a daily basis, I want to tie Jo-Jo down to a chair. My 2-year-old's blood has got to be brewing with snakes and snails, dragon-tails and a lil' bit of monster in the mix.

He's given my walls a new Crayola décor. The walls I paid $1,500 to have painted, mind you. He breaks whatever he can get his hands on. He tortures his sisters by jumping on their backs and screaming Hi-YA! at the top of his lungs like his name is Jo-Jo Jackie-Chan.

His favorite word is No, and when he's done eating, he donates his food to the floor. It never fails. He seems to think the floor is starving for his leftover spaghetti, or his mashed-up peas or it's oh-so hungry for his barbecue chicken bones. I just cut my eyes and wipe his mess as Jo-Jo laughs at me like my name is boo-boo da fool.

The boy, this boy, sends my blood and whatever snakes and snails I've got coursing through my veins boiling. But he's a toddler. And although he challenges my fabulous mommy-ness, I expect him to be who he is terrible or occasionally terrific. After all, he's two.

So although I may want to tie him up. I never have and I never will. And I certainly would never, even in a moment of jest, tie him up with duct tape and take a picture of it. What crazy person would do that, right?

Enter Caira Ferguson from my hometown Philly. She thought it was ha-ha hilarious to wrap up her two-year-old in duct and put it around her mouth and feet drug-dealer-hostage-style.

The poor baby looks so pitiful sitting in the chair with no shirt and just a diaper on and I'm sure the baby didn't think it was funny at all. And neither did the cops. The 21-year-old mom was charged with unlawful restraint, false imprisonment and child endangerment after she confessed to taping the baby girl to her little purple chair last summer.

She's now in jail and that momma's got some explaining to do. What started out as her showing the picture to authorities to prove that she was the victim of identity theft after her cell phone was stolen has resulted in her child being taken away from her, put into foster care and jail time for the obviously immature young mom.

And they say kids do the darndest things.

In the coming weeks I'm sure we'll learn about Caira's life the good, bad and ugly and if she was a fit or unfit mom. I won't go there and speculate, but I will say this. None of us are perfect parents. But there's a point, a line that we just don't cross when dealing with our kids. To me, if you cross that line you enter a zone where you can damage your child for the rest of their life. The rift and ripple in their life that you create as a child can manifest into a tsunami as an adult.

Abuse, whether verbal or physical, has long-lasting effects. And I'm not talking about an occasional whooping; I believe every little booty needs a boost to keep it in line from time to time. But Caira perhaps was too young, immature or just didn't care or even think that the duct-tape would have to come off. And if you've ever had duct tape on you, then you know when it's ripped off it stings just like your momma's leather strap.

I can't imagine how that baby must have screamed when the duct tape was being pulled from her tender skin and how piercing the pain and her screaming must have been. I can only shake my head and say that's a shame. A damn shame.

What else has this kid been subjected to in her two years of life? This child is two, so of course I'm sure she is a busy little bee like my Jo-Jo. And at 21-years-old, her momma probably doesn't have the patience or experience to engage her 2-year-old's craziness to cut down on her outbursts.

No matter how awful our kids can be, young moms have to do what they can to seek help. Call in grandma (if she's not at the club herself), or send your child to daycare. I think daycare saves a lot of kids lives. They are out of their momma's hair for a whole eight hours. And they learn something, get two healthy meals and get to play and be who they are without getting duct-taped to a chair as a consequence.

Yes our kids can drive us crazy, but there can't be two crazy people. Somebody's got to be the adult, be sensible, and lead the way. I hope Caira takes some parenting classes and I do hope she gets her child back. Maybe she just made the dumbest move of her life. I hope she's learned a hard lesson. Whatever the case, don't duct-tape the kids. Treat them good and raise them up right.

Because at the end of the day, when you're old and gray that same kid just might have a nagging old memory eating away at him, way back in their mind. And, you know what? Payback's a bitch.

Kia Morgan Smith, author of the delightful children’s book, Goony Goo-Goo and Ga-Ga Too, is a passionate and dedicated educator and former award-winning education reporter from Philadelphia. She has five kids and balances life like nobody’s business all of which she chronicles on her blog, CincoMom. She lives with her husband and their family in Atlanta.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Hello Kia, I totally agree with your story. I was a young parent & had my children 3yrs back to back. I can also agree that at 2yrs old they are something else, a handful to deal with but we have to remember that we were that age also. When you’re young and things get a little overwhelming, we need to have someone to reach out to. Maybe young Ciara didn’t have anyone to support her, “who knows”! I’m sure she knew better than to duct-tape her child to a chair, whether it was a joke or not! It was not funny AT ALL……As I stated on my post yesterday, toddlers are busy at 2, getting into any & everything they can get their cute lil hands on, when I thought that I couldn’t take anymore & I could just kill my children, I walked out left moms a note & came back when I was back to my normal mindset! I couldn’t see myself harming my babies. I am hoping Ciara can get some help & hoping this will be a lesson taught & learned for her and all the other young parents in the world.

    • Thank you Dana. I’m glad you have the sound mind to walk away when things got rough. That’s all anyone ever has to do. Enlist help. People are always willing to help out stressed moms. Thanks for commenting.

  2. WHY DID SHE HAVE TO TAPE HIS MOUTH TOO!!! Is she out of her mind? And than she took a picture of it? OH MY GOD!!!! This is why I fight – and this time a woman shined a light on this mess, I’m just gonna repost it! Thanks Kia!

    • Thank you Tim. You certainly do fight and bring light to issues like this. So many people, moms, dads etc are a mess and something needs to be done. Kids should not suffer. Thank you for reposting.

  3. This is a very, very sad story. It is heartbreaking. And I hope that baby is with someone who is caring for her properly now. I have a 16 month old, and he is certainly busy!!!! But no duct taping here!!! What I disagree with is how you insinuated that she did this because she was a ‘young’ mom. I had my first at 20, very young. Yet never felt the urge to duct tape her to a chair, lock her in a closet, or pour hot sauce in her mouth. ‘old’ moms can be abusive also. Young does not equal stupid or abusive.

    • Natasha, you are right, there are some smart, young moms. I was one of them and had my first baby by age 19. I was married too, but still never gave a thought to hurting my child. I had help as well because I had a husband there. I do know, though, that age is a factor in how young people think and react to some situations. Perhaps, just perhaps, her inexperience played a factor. But yes, there are old heads who are just as abusive. but I would hope, with life’s experience, they know better.

  4. You know, I am always struck by the things people do, but always much more shocked by the things they document on youtube, in pictures, on cell phones, on facebook, etc. … In some ways, I guess it’s a good thing; both the daughter and the mother get help (although issues with the foster care system are another story) but there are so many kids whose abuse we don’t see until its too late. Still, what worries me most is that if you’re taking a picture of what you’ve done to calm your child, does that mean you have no clue that this is wrong? That you can get in trouble for it? That someone with the ability to turn your life upside down will see it, and put your ass in jail? Being unable to deal with a 2-year-old’s antics is one thing. But handling her with duct tape and THEN having the audacity to take a picture of it? Something is seriously wrong with her.

  5. wow…this was just plain stupidity. I wouldn’t say that she was too young to have a baby because I was younger than her when I had my daughter and I knew better than to do some mess like that. It also shows she did not like to deal with her child or spend time with her. I hope she is punished to the fullest extent of the law and I hope they are able to find a suitable home for this child. Ain’t no telling what else this child went thru…just like the woman in Arizona who told the cops that she was about to leave her 11 year old and 2 yr old home alone because she wanted to strip and live her life…stupid trick…man this got my blood boiling. Excellent article as always.

    • Thanks Alexis. you are no-holds barred!! I was trying (a little bit) to give her the benefit of the doubt. It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks how this whole case is handled and if she will get her child back or if she will be used as an example. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Wow…she is straight sick in the head

  7. She was trying to break his Spirit. A child’s Spirit and zest for life is irreplaceable, once it’s broken.

    Shame on Mom and I hope the Judge’s ruling is swift and sharp!

  8. if this is what you really do you are a horrabul parent cause you can rip off a person skin to the meat and then you have to go to the hospital to get it fixed learn how to be a good mother and not a stupid one

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