An unlicensed child care provider was watching other children when a 1-year-old boy died as a result of being strangled by a car seat harness, Omaha police said Tuesday.
Elizabeth Harding, 33, was arrested Monday on suspicion of child neglect resulting in death. She was being held Tuesday in the Douglas County Jail.
The child, Chase Hunter, was strangled on Feb. 22 at Harding's home near 91st and Spaulding Streets.
He had been napping in the car seat with the harness unbuckled. When he squirmed in the seat, the harness wrapped around his neck, investigators said. Chase was found unconscious and could not be revived. He was pronounced dead at Children's Hospital & Medical Center.
Chase, the son of Chris and Jennifer Hunter, had turned 1 on Feb. 9.
“It's been really, really tough for them,” said D.A. “Duke” Drouillard, the Hunter family's attorney. “They need time to themselves to heal.”
Drouillard said Chris and Jennifer Hunter fully supported Omaha police and the Douglas County Attorney in the investigation and arrest; however, “it certainly doesn't bring Chase back.”
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said the day care wasn't a licensed facility. State law requires anyone caring for four or more children at any one time to be licensed. It was unclear how many children were being cared for in the home.
Police declined to say how many other children had been in Harding's care at the time.
Tracy King, injury prevention coordinator at Children's and chapter leader for Safe Kids Omaha, said a child should never be placed in a car seat for any purpose other than travel. In fact, she said, children shouldn't be in car seats for more than 90 minutes, even while traveling.
She said children should never be unattended in a car seat.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1304, email@example.com