"There’s no need to give a healthy, happy baby anything to sedate them," the grieving mother said.
A beautiful and happy little baby whose smile lit up the room was taken away from her parents in the most heartbreaking way. Her parents lost their "princess" because of the negligent actions of a daycare worker, robbing the parents, Marissa and Blake Briar of raising the daughter they dearly loved.
"She was a very happy baby, always smiling, she was just perfect. That’s just the best way to describe her, perfect," the mother said, according to News10.
On the tragic day of her death, the parents had dropped their 6-month-old baby, Harper Rose to daycare. It was her third day at the daycare where Stacey Vaillancourt was in charge of taking care of the baby.
But later in the day, a 911 call was made from Stacey's home. And when the police arrived, they found that Harper was unresponsive and she wasn't breathing. Immediately, the baby was taken to the hospital, reported People.
The mother, Marissa, then got a text message that completely changed her life. She said, "I actually got a text message, it wasn’t a call." The woman responsible for changing her daughter's fate just texted: "Baby sick. Ambulance here. Go to hospital," according to News10.
"The doctors and nurses did all they could to bring life back to our little princess. We were all shocked to hear Harper was gone. Harper Rose has left us on her 6 month birthday... Now we are trying to learn how to do this life without our sweet baby girl," said the GoFundMe page set up for the family.
What was also awful was that Stacey, who was in charge of taking care of Harper that day, did not care to go to the hospital after everything that happened and did not bother checking in with the family on whether the baby was okay.
Marissa and Blake were desperate to know the reason that killed their baby girl. But they had to wait for a couple of months before the toxicology results showed that Harper was given a dose of Diphenhydramine, which ended up being fatal to her.
Diphenhydramine is a sedative ingredient and is found in even over-the-counter medicines like Benadryl. However, giving doses of it to babies can be deadly and shouldn't be done unless a physician has recommended it, according to People.
Investigations into the incident found that Stacey had intentionally given the sedative to the baby to make her take a nap. And this decision ended up killing the little one.
According to the Associated Press, Rutland County State’s Attorney Rosemary Kennedy said, as quoted by People, "The state is alleging that the defendant sedated an otherwise beautiful, happy, healthy 6-month-old to the point where that baby could not lift her head and died. From the state’s perspective that is about as serious a charge that we see in Vermont."
Because of Stacey's actions, it is Harper's parents who have to live the rest of their lives with the consequences. Marissa said, as per the News10 report, "Blake and I both want for her, the person who was solely taking care of her at the time to be held responsible. There really was no need for it. There’s no need to give a healthy, happy baby anything to sedate them. There really is no reason. We don’t understand. I don’t know if we’ll ever understand. It’s just awful."
Stacey was charged with suspicion of manslaughter and child cruelty. After a bail amount was set for her, the judge declared that she wasn't allowed to have any contact with children below the age of 5; the exception to this is her grandchild only if one of the child's parent is present, according to Valley News.
Since the devastating incident took place in January 2019, the grieving parents have started a campaign in their daughter's name to prevent another baby from dying the same way.
"Harper Rose Briar died on her 6 month birthday and third day at daycare due to an overdose of diphenhydramine," the campaign on Custom Ink says. "This medication is not to be given to babies and the provider did not have permission to give this to her. For more information please like our Facebook page Justice For Harper Rose."
Urging parents and others who take care of children to read the labels given on medicines, Marissa also said, as quoted by News10, "When you have a child that can’t talk or stand up for themselves, you don’t know what’s going on and the person you think you can trust, they could be doing something you don’t know about. Unfortunately for us, it makes us never want to use a day care again."