Imagine opening your Facebook to find a video of your child going viral. That’s surreal enough on its own, but let’s make it more bizarre: The video isn’t one that you took, and in it, your baby isn’t doing something cute. In it, your baby looks like she’s in danger.
That’s the world of weird Indiana mom Brittany Dixson found herself in when a stranger at a neighborhood splash pad uploaded a video of Dixson’s 7-month-old baby being doused by a few gallons of water while the woman Dixson hired and trusted to watch her daughter looks on.
In the video — which Dixson says took her aback even before she realized the stars of the show were her daughter Annora and Annora’s babysitter — a baby sits on the ground while a woman in a purple swimsuit hovers nearby. Once in a while, the woman glances up toward a group of yellow buckets, and moments later, we find out why — as soon as the buckets fill with water, they upend themselves, drenching the tot with a deluge of water.
Too late to be of any real help, the babysitter waits for the downpour to cease and then swoops in to pick up the baby. It’s jarring to watch no matter who you are, but if you’ve got a kid this age, your stomach is guaranteed to drop.
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The video was taken by another mom at the park that day, a woman named Desiree Howell, who told a local news outlet that she hit the record button while she waited for the cops to arrive. She’d called them herself after she says she witnessed the bucket incident a few times, which, along with some other behavior by the babysitter, threw up some red flags for her.
The video spread through the community pretty quickly after that, which is when Dixson saw it, went to pick up her baby, fired the babysitter and took Annora to a doctor to be checked out for her risk of dry drowning. Annora is fine, and Dixson expressed that she believes the babysitter was not acting maliciously. Even if she wasn’t, she still exercised astoundingly poor judgment. No one wants to see their child featured in a video like this one, but ultimately it’s a good thing Dixson did.
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It is never easy to entrust your child to the care of someone else. Even when you know them well, you can’t help but wonder if they will care for and about your child the way you do. Most of the time it becomes easier to relax those anxieties as your child and their caretaker bond and you begin to see for yourself that your child is in capable, caring hands.
But seeing for yourself that they aren’t in the best hands is a little harder. You can’t follow your sitter around or spy on them everywhere they go. If you had that kind of time, you wouldn’t need a sitter to begin with. That’s where the modern day “village” comes in. People often bemoan the end of community child-rearing. Where once we used to help each other out, people complain, now we all turn a blind eye. That’s clearly not true. Community child raising may look different in our generation than in our mothers’, but videos like this one prove it’s still going strong.
It’s never going to get easier to leave your child with someone else. But it makes it easier to feel OK with that when you know the other moms at the splash pad have your back — and can loop you in with the touch of a button.
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