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These Parents Didn't Shake Their Baby—But He's Still in Protective Custody

The Short of it 

Mariah Ramirez and Derek Podanay left their 5-month old son with a trusted babysitter. When they returned home, he seemed sick, but his pediatrician pegged it to a stomach virus. By the next morning, however, they were rushing him to the hospital, where it was determined that he'd been shaken. And while it was the babysitter who allegedly shook the infant, not the parents, the baby  still hasn't been retuned home.

The Lowdown

Ramirez and Podanay obviously never dreamed that their sitter, who was a close friend of Ramirez's, could jeopardize their baby's health and future. But Troy, Missouri, mom told Fox 2 New in St. Louis that after a day in the sitter's care, her 5-month-old baby, Daniel, seemed lathragic and began vomitting. Daniel's pediatrician pegged the behavior to a stomach bug, but the next morning the baby was rushed to the ER by ambulance. “They told me he had a subdural hemorrhage, he had blood behind both of his eyes and two fractured ribs,” Ramirez told Fox 8.

She and her husband had no idea what caused their son's injuries until a fellow mom—someone Ramirez said she doesn't even know well—phoned her with horrifying news: The mom told Mariah that the sitter said she had shaken the baby. “[We]’re very fortunate, because if she wouldn’t have come forward, we still wouldn’t have known,” said Mariah. A phone call from police was next, letting Mariah know that the babysitter confessed and was now in custody. And Fox 8 reported that the police say "the investigation is now complete and in the hands of the St. Charles County prosecutor."

Still, baby Daniel remains in protective custody with his grandmother. Why? Apparently, it's standard precaution in shaken-baby cases, pending a criminal investigation. That makes sense, honestly, but it certainly doesn't make it any easier on the parents. “It’s just upsetting that right now there’s been a confession and we still don’t have him back,” Ramirez said. 

Twenty-five percent of babies that are shook, like Daniel die. Thankfully, doctors said he will recover and be just fine. Grandma has resumed childcare for Daniel.

The Upshot

Despite everything, there's good news here: Doctors told Ramirez and Podanay that their son should make a full recovery. That's a rare happy outcome in shaken baby cases, considering that 25 percent of baby that are shaken die from their injuries. That's why t's crucially important that anyone taking care of a chid be aware of the danger of shaking a baby.

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