A working mother from Nashville, Tennessee was unable to arrange for childcare for her 3-year-old daughter while she needed to report for work on Saturday afternoon until evening, so she casually asked a male friend to babysit her toddler. It proved a fatal mistake - by the time she got home, her child was already on the brink of death due to a suspected beating from the babysitter.
The police have identified the suspected murderer of the child as 26-year-old Christopher Riley, who was requested to babysit Laylani Rose Stevens on Saturday. He has been arrested by the authorities after being accused of beating the child to death. He was consequently charged on Thursday with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse for Laylani’s severe trauma-related death.
The mother came home from work at around 10 in the evening and got the shock of her life to find her daughter unresponsive.
The mother then immediately brought little Laylani to the hospital with extensive head injuries and other internal and external injuries. The child was transferred to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital where she tragically died on Sunday afternoon.
The shattered mother told the police that her daughter had no injuries when she left their home on Saturday to work.
Riley told the mother that the child’s injuries were caused by falls, but detectives working on the case found the toddler’s injuries as inconsistent with falling.
Parents work hard to give their children a good life, if not the best existence possible. Juggling work and childcare is a tough task, especially on mothers who unfairly bear the greater burden of rearing children. Availing of child care services including, if not primarily, babysitting is the next best option for many American parents. Child care, however, is a serious matter and business that should not be taken lightly, or for granted.
Because the safety - and such as in this case even the precious lives - of vulnerable children are involved, childcare then should be regarded as a professional service, carried out only by competent individuals who have undergone training and are fit to handle the serious task. It should not be considered a casual, odd job where a parent could just get anyone to look after her or his child, even for a brief period like a sudden night schedule at work.
Childcare, or even “just” babysitting, should be taken as seriously as say, a medical profession. In fact, some may even go as far as argue that babysitters should have a license. Sure, they earn far less than professionals since the job is mostly regarded as part-time, or on some occasions as in the tragic case of Laylani, a casual job that even acquaintances or neighbors or a friend’s friend would do. This practice must stop for the safety of American children. Individuals tasked to look after our children, no matter how long or brief the babysitting task is should also follow the usual procedures or due diligence companies undergo in recruiting and getting the best talent, including conducting a background check on the criminal record of the ones applying as babysitters, or establishing if the applicants have health and mental issues that may impede him or her from carrying out the task well.
It’s time to professionalize babysitting, for the children’s sake to keep the vulnerable, precious ones away from the hands of wackos like the horrific fate suffered by Laylani. And we have not even started on discussing the dangers of babysitters turning out to be pedophiles.
If it would mean paying more for professional services, then so be it to guarantee the safety of children.
The parents should also be encouraged to avail of professional child daycare services and the like to enjoy better guarantees that their children are in good, professional hands rather than casually asking just about anyone to do such a seemingly “simple task” of babysitting. When safety and lives are involved, no task should be easily be dismissed as simple.