Free-Range Kids

26-Year-Old Mom Jailed for Months After Baby's Accidental Death

"I have no ounce in my body that blames my wife at all."


Polk County mughsot

A Des Moines, Iowa, mother had been charged with the death of her 3-month-old baby who accidentally suffocated on the changing table while she went to get her a bottle.

The incident happened in September and the mom, Laci Lynn Taylor, 26, has been sitting in jail for four months while investigators probed the case, because she cannot make bail. I'm trying to think of a more pointless, vindictive, cruel way to treat a mother in the depths of grief after a tragic accident. How is her imprisonment making anyone safer? How is it teaching her a lesson that the death of her child did not?

The Des Moines Register reports that:

According to court documents, Taylor left the child unattended on a changing table. While she was out of the room, the child rolled over, and as a result, her neck was compressed on the ledge of the changing table, cutting off her airway. Police said the incident resulted in the child's death.

Ok, the incident caused the child's death. That does not make the mom a criminal. Here's her husband's take:

Don Taylor said his child's death was a horrible freak accident that could happen to anyone.

"I have no ounce in my body that blames my wife at all," Taylor's husband Don said.

Now, no one is saying it is wise to leave a baby on the changing table. Of course it isn't. The cops claim the mom spent 15 minutes out of the room and perhaps that's so. What I am saying is that I have done things just as ill-thought out, dumb, and potentially dangerous, and that doesn't mean I'm a bad mom. It only means I'm lucky, and Laci Lynn Taylor was tragically unlucky.

The charges against her—which carry a penalty of up to 25 years in prison—are based on the sickeningly simplistic, self-satisfied belief that there's no such thing as fate, only negligence. Our society is eager to pretend that every decent mom spends every second doing everything exactly "right," which includes literally constant surveillance of her kids. If something happens while she's not watching, well, there's your justice: She took her eyes off her child and death swooped in. It's all her fault.

How did we get so vengeful and cruel? A new book called, Blaming Mothers: American Law and the Risks to Children's Health by Pace University law professor Linda C. Fentiman outlines our unconscious reasoning:

Hindsight bias. Once a tragedy has occurred, it's impossible to look back and not think it should have been easy to predict and avoid.

The fundamental attribution error. This is the unconscious belief that bad things only happen to bad people.

The "reasonable man" theory. Negligence was originally determined by what a "reasonable man" would have done in the situation. For example, a reasonable man wouldn't leave a 4-year-old home alone for a weekend. But now that we think about the "reasonable woman," the bar is higher. "A reasonable mother is supposed to be superhuman and always do anything to minimize the risk to her children," says Fentiman. So if something bad happens while a mom is, say, napping, she can be blamed for daring to shut her eyes.

In America, when it comes to crime, we don't blame the victim anymore. But we do blame the victim's mom.

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  1. A link to an actual news story this time. You’re doing better.

  2. The White Supremacists need to prevent the deaths of their babies in case one of them is their next Jesus. You just have to look at it their way.

  3. Damn. What a Monday AM Nutpunch (on all levels).

    I think I’d rather see Trump Derangement stories. At least they make me laugh instead of cry.

  4. Just think of it as a fourth-trimester abortion.

    1. that only works when it’s intentional.

    2. I chuckled but man that was rough.

  5. Authorities don’t like to fill out a bunch of paperwork with nothing to show for it.

  6. This baby might have been the child who proved to the world that the criminal justice system is necessary because people are inherently ‘bad’ and will surely do evil if there is no one to watch them. He would have wanted his mother jailed too – after all what nobler purpose of life is there other than punishing people?

  7. Well, I sure feel safer knowing this monster is locked away.


  8. Would be nice if they went after people who knowingly hired raping/murdering illegals with the same zeal.

  9. Would be nice if they went after the people radicalizing our own children to jihad against us by trying to ‘lure’ them into bomb plots with the same zeal.

  10. Well hopefully at least this will make some people think twice before having children.

    1. Better make it the times.

      1. Or three, stupid phone.

  11. Is it just this case that us vei5ng objected to, or is Skenazy coming out as against the lefal concept of involuntary manslaughter in general?

  12. Couldn’t this happen to a baby in a crib? (SIDS is a thing, after all.) Does that mean you can’t leave your baby in a crib for a nap (or heaven forbid overnight) without constantly checking them?

    1. Couldn’t this happen to a baby in a crib?

      Not unless the crib is seriously defective, no. As described in the post, it appears the child rolled over, causing her head to droop (presumably face down) over the edge of the changing table, and she was unable to lift her head, so the weight of her own head pulling down cut off her air supply by compressing her windpipe against the edge of the table.

      1. The story + the one it linked to didn’t make the mechanics of that clear. I was trying to imagine how a changing table could have a “ledge” that could compress a neck.

        But as long as all it took was something under the neck, that could happen if there was a hard object or even a not-so-hard one left in a crib w a baby. All it needs is enough height for a chin to fall over.

  13. This ludicrous prosecution is an inevitable result of the mindset that the government can and must fix everything.

  14. This is tragic but it could’ve happened anywhere, not just on a changing table. Cribs have walls, even on the floor a kid could roll up against a couch. Hell my 3-week-old managed to roll off the couch when I walked out to the kitchen to make my ultra-sleep-deprived self a cup of coffee. She couldn’t even roll over yet at that age and had to go uphill — still haven’t figured out the physics of that one. (She’s fine, BTW. Don’t call CPS just yet.)

    Nobody is capable of watching their child round the clock with no gaps. You have to shower. You have to poop. You have to fix meals. And sometimes, after weeks on end of only getting 2-4 hours of sleep a night, you sit down for “just a second” and accidentally fall asleep sitting up. IT HAPPENS.

  15. To quote Nietzsche, distrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong…

  16. If she’d had an abortion four months prior, nothing would have been said and she’d be “free as a bird”.
    Some misplaced priorities involved here.

  17. Our mother would have been in prison in 1946 when a baby sister died in a few inches of water in the tub . Unfortunately our parents tried again and that one has yet to die .

  18. During the time period when there was a warning about leaving children in playpens unsupervised, I saw a child in my ER that suffocated under a playpen mattress. The child had an hour of ACLS and CPR without ever getting any EKG activity reestablished. The mother was later charged with suspicion of child abuse. And, her other child taken from her. There were no signs of abuse on the postmortem exam, except for changes in the brain. It showed micro-hemorrhages. Likely it happened during the aggressive attempt to revive the little girl. Eventually the second child was returned. But, I felt it was abusive to put the mother through so much, when it was well known that children were dying, if they were left to sleep in playpens. This 18 year old mother, our here in the sticks, had no idea! Can you think of anywhere else where law enforcement is messing up the doctor/patient relationship, thinking they have the knowledge to make medical decisions? As a doctor who practiced pain management, in this small town, I can! I was warned by an ex-patient of some law enforcement subterfuge. Sent word to me through his brother that there was an attempt too frame me as a drug dealer. He was later found dead in his cell! Maybe the cops thought it could have been the drugs he was using, that got him locked up, in the first place! But, it wasn’t the Xanax he was getting from me for his panic attacks!! I guess, maybe, his chronic chest pains were real heart disease!?

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