By Kelli Stopczynski (email@example.com)
12:29 PM EDT, August 7, 2012
A Warsaw toddler's death is being blamed on a car seat, but he wasn't anywhere near a car when it happened. Eighteen-month-old Payton Brettell died Monday afternoon after his babysitter found him unresponsive inside her home. A preliminary autopsy is calling his death “positional asphyxia” – meaning he somehow got into a position that made it difficult for him to breathe.
Less than 24 hours after he died, the radio that put Payton to sleep every night was still on in his “Cars” themed room, brand new pajamas still had tags on them and the little boy’s parents were heartbroken.
“It’s like a dream I just want to wake up out of,” said his mother, Nova Brettell. “(His babysitter) came over last night and was just telling me how sorry she was and (that) it was an accident and she wanted to know what she could do for me. I said, 'Dana there's nothing you can do for me. I want him to come back home but he's not going to.'”
The boy would have been 18 months Tuesday.
Police said they got the 911 call for an unresponsive child inside a home in the 900 blk of S. Union Street in Warsaw at 1:39 Monday afternoon. The child was rushed to the hospital, but pronounced dead about a half hour later.
“From what I was told by the babysitter is they put him in an infant crib and he crawled out of it, and they found him on the floor playing in a car seat. So they put him back in the crib and I guess thought he went to sleep and when they went in there, the way I understand it he was strangled by a car seat strap,” Nova added.
But how and why it happened to a little boy who hated being buckled into his own car seat were questions Dave and Nova Brettell couldn’t answer.
“I still don’t have a logical way that he could have possibly got himself wrapped in that car seat to choke him,” Dave told WSBT. “That really, really bothers me.”
The boy’s father added he’d gone out to the garage hours after his son died and examined the car seats, even using one of his 3-year-old daughter’s dolls to try and figure out how it might have happened.
Now, the Brettells want others to learn from their loss, in more ways than one.
“As a parent, you can’t leave your kid alone for a minute without knowing what they’re doing,” said Dave. “When you have a child, you need to spend every second you can with them. You never know when your last moment’s going to be.”
The daycare owner’s husband told WSBT there were eight children inside the home when the incident happened. State law says daycares must be licensed if they have more than five children who are not related to the daycare operator, meaning the babysitter may have been operating illegally because of the number of children there. That daycare is not licensed and was closed Tuesday.
The daycare owner told Payton’s mom she doesn’t know if she’ll ever reopen after Monday’s tragedy.
This comes on the heels of a 22-month-old girl nearly drowning at an Osceola daycare less than a week earlier. The state ordered that unlicensed daycare to close.
What will happen to the Warsaw daycare after Monday’s death is not clear. Warsaw Police, the Kosciusko County Coroner and Department of Child Services are all investigating.
Copyright © 2013, WSBT-TV