Mom Charged After Baby Dies From Car Seat Straps Being Too Tight: Police

An Indiana mother was charged with felony neglect Friday after her infant son died from the straps being too tight on his car seat, according to court records.

On the morning of May 26, 2021, 35-year-old Megan Ford noticed her son, Kai, unresponsive in his car seat after driving for no more than 15 minutes to her mother's house.

Ford believed Kai was asleep in the car seat, according to the probable cause affidavit obtained by WANE-TV.

Once emergency services arrived, they found blood dripping from the baby's nose and mouth and he was blue in color, WANE-TV reported. Although life-saving measures were taken, Kai was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

Ford told authorities that her son–whose age has not been released–was "a little fussy" when she put him in the car.

During a wellness check just days before his death, the child weighed in at 8 pounds and 2 ounces, WANE-TV reported.

Ford told investigators that Kai weighed 4 pounds, 14 ounces at birth, and had been using the same Graco car seat that she used when she brought him home. But she explained that she never adjusted the straps because she did not know how to, the news station reported.

Experts recommend that all children under the age of 2 or that do not exceed the height and weight restrictions should be placed in a rear-facing car seat, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The child can then begin using a forward-facing car seat and then eventually age up to a booster.

It is important that the straps are adjusted as the child grows to ensure they are not tight enough that they leave a mark on the child.

Court documents obtained by WANE-TV listed Kai had injuries consistent with the buckles on his car seat straps being too tight. Ford told police she was driving to her mother's house that day to receive help adjusting the straps.

The baby's autopsy found a bruise consistent with where the buckle fell on his abdomen and five broken ribs. Forensic pathologist Kent Harshbarger said he did not believe the broken ribs were from the CPR but said he could not rule it out.

Harshbarger also said the blood from his mouth and nose could have been a result of pressure caused by asphyxiation, WANE-TV reported.

According to the news station, Kai's cause of death was listed as "probable mechanical asphyxia due to chest and abdomen compression."

Ford claimed during a police interview that she knew Kai's straps were too tight after his wellness check two days prior.

Kai's father, Quentin Hoskins, also told Detective Corporal Gabe Furnish of the Allen County Sheriff's Department that he'd spoken with Ford about the car seat straps just days before their son's death.

He said neither he nor Ford knew how to adjust the straps since they were first-time parents and Ford said she threw the car seat manual away with the box.

Ford was charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, a level 3 felony. She was released from the county jail after her $10,000 bond was paid, according to court records.

She is due in court for a hearing on Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Newsweek contacted the Allen County Police Department but did not hear back in time for publication.

Mom charged with infant's death
Megan Ford, 35, was charged with felony neglect after the court determined her infant son's death was caused by his car seat straps being too tight. HStarr/iStock