A coroner has warned parents about “propping up” babies and leaving them unsupervised with bottles of milk.

The warning comes after a four-month-old died when he was left to feed alone in his car seat.

Baby Alex Masters, from Lincolnshire, England, died from choking on milk while his babysitter fell asleep on the couch in her apartment, 15, reports Yahoo!7.

Claire Sawyer called an ambulance when she woke up, but baby Alex could not be revived.

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An inquest was told Miss Sawyer placed the infant in his car seat, propped up with a blanket, and left him with a bottle, as she napped nearby, BBC reported.

Miss Sawyer was reportedly arrested on suspicion of murder but was never charged due to a lack of evidence.

The inquest heard Miss Sawyer told Alex’s mother Chloe Masters, 18, she fell asleep after giving the baby a bottle of milk, but told a nurse “she had killed a baby” after putting him in his car seat with a propped bottle of milk.

Coroner Stuart Fisher said although it was not illegal, babies feeding from bottles should be supervised.

“I would whole-heartedly recommend that babies should not be fed while the drinking bottle is propped.
“It’s essential that whenever a baby is being fed, that it is supervised.”

Coroner Fisher said Miss Sawyers was an “unreliable witness” and concluded she had left Alex to feed in that position.

A post-mortem found the baby had inhaled milk into his lungs, and presented two leg fractures that police deemed non-accidental.

However they were unable to determine how the baby received the injuries due to the number of people who looked after him in the days before his death.

The baby’s mother told the court she would never have allowed Alex to stay with Miss Sawyer if she had known he was sleeping in a car seat.

A few years ago a grieving family called for strict guidelines on infants sleeping in car seats after the loss of their infant son. Read more!

When using a car seat or carrier, babies must always be supervised or else they can change positions and block their tiny airways. A good rule of thumb for parents to follow is to never, under any circumstances, use a car seat for anything other than its intended purpose, which is to keep baby safe in the car.

Read more: The car seat dangers for tiny infants you need to know about

Share your comments below

  • I used to prop my boys up on the floor or lounge with their bottle so I could get a couple of things done. I was always in the room and kept an eye on them. Scary to think now something could have happened to them.


  • Very scary indeed. So important to be cautious and know about what could happen.


  • To me it sounds like there is more to it in this story. Sounds like child abuse to me-he had two leg fractures! But in any case, you should prop your baby up and leave them on their own with a bottle. Babies choke so easily. It’s a very sad story which ever way you look at it.


  • Absolutely scary and heartbreaking this happened


  • I just don’t get this story, why does the baby have leg fractures and then they blame drinking from a bottle? Most likely more to this story, very sad. Babies should be held when drinking.


  • You should never leave a baby unsupervised while drinking. RIP baby Alex.


  • All children should be under supervision at all times and not left to fend for themselves.


  • Anybody of any age can choke on their own vomit if they are laying on their back and vomit. I personally know a toddler who almost did only her Mum heard her cough and realised it wasn’t a “normal” cough. A work colleague knew a lady who had vomitted out in the yard, went back inside and choked on her own vomit and was found laying on gthe floor on her back deceased by a neighbour who was waiting for her as they were going shopping together.


  • Very sad but thank you for the article.


  • Its things like this and the guidelines for Sids that some parents think is just bs because their parents did it, their grandparents did it, so it must be ok?!
    I wish people like this would wake up and realise these guidelines and rules were put in place to prevent serious accidents that occured but you didn’t hear about “back in the good old days”.


  • Not a very wise thing to do.


  • My brother and his partner used to do this with their kids and it would make me so angry. I was only a teenager at the time and even then I could see that it was common sense not to do that and that it would be dangerous. Honestly, what goes through people’s heads? We are schooled on correct sleeping positions so that babies don’t choke on vomit, etc. however, we have idiots propping bottles in their babies mouths. It’s an accident waiting to happen.


  • Wow. I have seen this before where babies have been left to feed themselves. Really? Is this not the most basic thing as a parent that you feed your child? Especially one too young to feed themselves. I have anger and not enough words to describe this. Whilst not helpful, it’s just lazy parenting. And the end result in this was catastrophic and tragic.


  • Huge warning for those who practice this ! So sad this costed a precious life


  • How terrible! And what a shock for the baby-sitter to wake up and find the child she was caring for dead. :-(


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