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Indiana infant's death blamed on car seat straps that were too tight

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An Indiana woman has been charged with neglect after her infant boy died from what court documents say were car seat straps that were too tight.

By the time emergency personnel were called, the baby had blood coming from his nose and mouth and appeared to be bluish in color, according to court documents. His mother, Megan Ford, 35, said he’d been “a little fussy” when she put him in his car seat.

Life saving measures were taken on baby Kai, according to a probable cause affidavit, but to no avail. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Ford was charged Friday with neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, a felony. Court documents show she has a court hearing Tuesday.

Injuries to the baby, who weighed 8 pounds, 2 oz. at his wellness check days prior to his death, appeared to be because the buckles and straps on his car seat were too tight, court documents said.

On May 26, 2021 around 11:14 a.m., Ford noticed that her son was unresponsive after driving 12 to 15 minutes from her house to her mother’s in Yoder. Ford thought her son had fallen asleep, Detective Corporal Gabe Furnish of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department wrote in the probable cause.

During a police interview, Ford said her son weighed 4 pounds, 14 oz at birth and she hadn’t adjusted the car seat straps since they left the hospital because she didn’t know how to adjust them. The Graco car seat was a gift from her mother, she added, and she planned on getting her mother to help her with the adjustment the day the baby died.

An autopsy revealed a bruise on the baby’s abdomen area that matched up perfectly to where the buckles would have been strapped when he was placed in to the car seat, court documents said. Dr. Kent Harshbarger said the blood from his mouth and nose could have been from his lungs due to the pressure of the asphyxiation. The cause of death was listed as “probable mechanical asphyxia due to chest and abdomen compression.”

The baby also had five broken ribs that Harshbarger didn’t believe could be attributed to CPR, but he couldn’t rule that out, court documents said.

Ford said she knew the straps were tight two days prior when she took Kai to his doctor’s appointment. She demonstrated and explained how she’d have to move his lower body down into the seat to get the straps over his shoulders, court documents said. Furnish brought up an owner’s manual on an internet search, court documents said.

The baby’s father, Quentin Hoskins, told Furnish that he’d had a conversation with Ford about the straps getting too tight when he put the baby in the car seat a couple days prior to his death.

“I could barely get him in the car seat,” Hoskins said. Hoskins said the baby was his first child and said neither he nor Ford knew how to adjust the straps. Ford said she threw away the box and instructions after she removed the car seat from the box.

Ford was released from the Allen County Jail Friday on a $10,000 bond, a jail spokesman said.

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