While the browsing state and local news, your Charleston child injury lawyers at Howell and Christmas came across an extremely bizarre incident involving the highly questionable and alleged action of a 17-year-old babysitter. According to reports the babysitter is alleged to have broken off a portion of a Xanax bar and administered it to the 4-year-old girl she was hired to take care of by putting the prescription drug into the child’s lunch in an effort by the sitter to have the child calm down and take a nap. The sitter contacted the child’s mother once the child had fallen numerous times, had hit her head, and exhibited signs of dizziness. The mother went home immediately after being contacted and found her child in “a state of potential unconsciousness.”
Doctors discovered Xanax in the child’s system while conducting blood work, prompting the child’s mother to confront the sitter and search her purse. Found therein were five Xanax bars, which were later said to have been prescribed to a family member of the sitter.
For informational purposes, Xanax belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines and works by slowing down the movement of chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced, effectively reducing nervous tension. It is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression. It is suggested that those prescribed to Xanax by a physician keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle, as Xanax is a drug that is commonly abused and those prescribed should be aware if anyone is using the drug improperly or without a prescription. Because of its potential for abuse and its classification as a controlled substance, police instructed the mother mentioned above to contact the sitter’s family and inform them that the drugs had been stolen and have them file a police report in regards to the theft. Understanding that the sitter is by no means a physician, the chances of the child overdosing on the drug meant only for adult use were particularly high. Thus, it is extremely fortunate that the child’s reaction did not result in a wrongful death.
Because of the incident Horry County officers arrested the babysitter and charged her with unlawful neglect of a child.
As defined by the South Carolina Code of Laws, “‘Child abuse or neglect,’ or ‘harm’ occurs when the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare: inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical or mental injury or engages in acts or omissions which present a substantial risk of physical or mental injury to the child.” It would appear that intentionally administering an allegedly stolen prescription drug (intended only for adult use) to a child as a means of behavioral control warrants said charge. But the fate of the sitter is still yet to be determined; the 17-year-old is awaiting a bond hearing and remains incarcerated at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Horry County.
Needless to say, this story’s publication on online news sources has generated a lot of reader feedback, namely, the argument that “today’s generation” feels that all problems can be easily remedied with a pill or prescription drug. And that it is this quick-fix-mentality that prompted the young woman to use Xanax to try and control the 4-year-old. Furthermore, this raises concerns among parents of young children as to who they allow to watch their children. Some reason it is only best to have family members or extremely close friends watch over their children because of the mere possibility of child injury and death occurring due to negligent care provided by an inexperienced untrained, and/or unfamiliar individual.