Baby In Washing Machine Put There by Sitter’s Boyfriend; Child Is Okay

Sweet baby Jesus, it just gets worse: turns out the tiny load seen in a video surveillance tape spinning in an active washing machine was put in the Laundromat tub not by his parents but the baby sitter and her boyfriend. And… wait for it… the toddler’s mother didn’t know her child was the one in the washing machine until she saw her kid tumbling in the YouTube video viewed by millions.

Camden prosecutors say that during questioning, the pair in the video told them that the boyfriend was playing peek-a-boo when he got the bright idea to put the baby in the washing machine as a prank. He apparently did not know the machine would lock and wash when the door closed, and the babysitter apparently didn’t know she was dating a guy dumb enough to even attempt such a thing, let alone “play” like that. So prosecutors have written it off as a stupid but charge-less offense, instead referring the case to child welfare services.

Sakia says the baby sitter gave her the baby back with bruises and cuts, talmbout he fell down two stairs and, after a quick visit to the hospital, checked out okay. She says she took the baby sitter’s word for it—until she saw the video. “That’s my baby,” Sakia recalls saying when she watched. The babysitter denied it when Sakia confronted her, but when police showed up to Sakia’s door, she knew for sure that it was little Saimeir tumbling in the machine.

Sakia says she plans to file charges against the two. “I left my child in in her custody. She sat there and watched him put my baby in the washer. So it’s both of their fault,” she told Today’s Ann Curry, adding that she wants them “punished and sentenced.”

Here’s my thing: if I put my child in your care, at the very top of my list of expectations is that you a) take good care of my kid and b) you don’t have my kid around a bunch of random people. Boyfriend or no, that man had no business around Sakia’s child while his mother wasn’t around. Period. And that man had no right to put his hands on that child. Period.

This whole mess of an incident reminds me of when we hired our first babysitter ever, just before I went back to work after having my first daughter, Mari. The lady seemed nice—came with great recommendations, had experience, yadda, yadda, yadda. I was comforted knowing that she would be watching my kid at my house and Nick, who was working from home at the time, would be just a room away. But alarms, low and steady, started ringing when the woman started telling me all her personal business—her ex was a married man, the wife worked at a bank just down the street, they didn’t get along (obviously), she still loved the ex. I didn’t really want to hear all of that coming in from work; what I wanted to hear was that my baby, who’d been breastfeeding exclusively for six months, was off her bottle strike and actually ate while I was gone, and that after she stopped crying for me that she played and was taken for a walk in the park and was read to and rocked while she listened to her favorite music and that she napped without interruption.

The day the babysitter sat me down, girlfriend-to-girlfriend style and told me she took my kid for a walk down to the bank to confront her ex’s wife (!!!) was the last day she worked for me. I was too much of a punk to fire her myself; Nick did it. But it got done. And Nick had to care for our daughter alone, while trying to get his freelance and book writing career off the ground, until I found someone else to watch our child. Thank God he was there. Otherwise, I would have had to leave my kid in that woman’s hands until I tracked down another babysitter—not an easy feat in a town where everyone, whether they worked or not, had nannies.

That’s all to say that I get it: when you are a young mother and desperate for help with your baby while you go to work, you have to hire a baby sitter and, every time, you have to put your faith and trust not only in the person who’s charged with watching your kid, but your instincts as a mother. Sometimes, the need trumps the instincts, and you have to work with what you got. Who knew that in addition to feeding schedules, play instructions and emergency contact information, young mothers now have to hand over explicit instructions to new babysitters telling them to make sure their boyfriends don’t put the baby in the washing machine? Thank God, the toddler is okay. But every time I watch that YouTube video of that baby spinning in that Laundromat machine, I see only the horror—and feel that mother’s pain.

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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.

9 Comments

  1. This is CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And so sad, but the good news is the baby is OK, I hope. I hope the machine didn’t do any lasting mental damage.
    By the way, I saw you at the Disney Screening but didn’t really know i was you until I saw your pictures. I was like I saw her! When you walked in, I felt liked you looked so familiar but couldn’t place the face. Next time I will speak. Great blog!

  2. I’m concerned about this notion in this sentence – “So prosecutors have written it off as a stupid but charge-less offense, instead referring the case to child welfare services.” – that child welfare services are somehow a non-consequence.

    In a country where African-Americans are targeted by the child “welfare” system, where 34% percent of children in foster care are African-American, where removal of children can rip apart families and souls irreparably, where the child “welfare” system operates outside the law, referring a case to child welfare is hardly a mild situation to be dismissed casually.

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Kay,

      You read all of that in one sentence? Clearly, I’m not dismissing the referral to child welfare services as a “non-consequence.” But what, exactly, can child welfare services do to the sitter and her boyfriend? The baby is not theirs. They need to face a court of law, not a department that has no authority to take from them a baby that doesn’t belong to them in the first place. Now if child welfare services is going after the mother, that’s a whole nother thing. But nowhere has it been mentioned that the mother is negligent—just that her baby sitter and her baby sitter’s boyfriend are both idiots.

  3. Well I’m glad she is now more angry at the babysitter and the boyfriend. On the local news here in Philly she made it seem as if it was all an accident and she didn’t blame them. She was mad, but had no intentions of pursing any action. The report also said the police weren’t filing any charges because there was no law broken. Do we need a law that specifically says “do not put baby in washer or else you will be put in jail”??

    Babysitters. yikes! Makes me want to move back south and closer to family.

  4. YES, I have had my first time mother childcare nightmares too! Weirdly enough my husband had to juggle freelance and childcare at home as well in between nightmares (while the baby acted all stank about anything that wasn’t a breast).

  5. I actually just read the article online where I learned that it wasn’t in fact the “parents” who participated in this madness, but a babysitter’s boyfriend! The second I finished the article I hit this website because I knew, without a doubt, MBB’s spin on it would be witty, smart and hilarious! I was ever so right as the opening line of this article started with my sentiments exact… “sweet baby jesus!” These accounts of babysitters boyfriends/friends causing harm to children are horrifying! I know my hubby and I STRESS OUT about whose care we entrust our girls in and this goes to show you never ever know! Sheesh!

  6. Ummm, completely off topic, but that mom needs to put that baby in modeling. He is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen (next to my own, of course).

  7. I have been having nightmares about that baby because I didn’t know if he/she was okay. Thanks for the update so I can sleep peacefully tonight.

  8. watcha playing for ?

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