An 18-month-old girl has died after a lice treatment, involving a condiment and a plastic bag, ended up suffocating her. In an attempt to clear her scalp of the louse scavengers, a Massachusetts mom, using an online remedy, slathered her daughter’s hair with mayonnaise and then placed a plastic shopping bag over her head.
Writes The Associated Press, via ABC News on Feb. 5: “A Springfield police department spokesman says officers responded to a city home last Saturday for reports of a child not breathing. Sgt. John Delaney says the little girl’s scalp was covered in mayonnaise and a plastic shopping bag was placed over her head, a common home remedy for head lice. The girl was left unattended and apparently fell asleep, allowing the bag to slip down over her face, suffocating her.”
The bag was evidently tied down around the baby’s forehead, but as she slept, the bag fell in front of her face, causing her to be throttled and suffocate. “This is a very sad incident,” said Sergeant Delaney. The name of the child was not released.
Springfield police were called to the home Saturday afternoon, after the frantic parents called 911. They had placed their daughter down for a nap, but when they checked on her some time later, they saw the bag had dropped over her face. Officers said that when they arrived at the home, one of the parents was performing CPR, but it was evident that the girl had been “dead for some time.”
Adds MassLive.com: “Officers familiar with the case said the child had been left unattended for several hours with the bag on her head before anyone went to check. Another child in the house, a boy, also had lice, but the family decided to shave his head.”
According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, data is “lacking to determine whether suffocation of lice by application of products such as petroleum jelly, olive oil, butter, or fat-containing mayonnaise, are effective methods of treatment of head lice.” A prescribed medical shampoo is the typical remedy to rid the scalp of lice.
Springfield police have said they currently have not charged the parents with anything. The office of Hampden County District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated that they are still investigating the incident in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.
Sound off below: Do you think the parents of this girl were negligent by giving her what would seem to clearly be a dangerous lice treatment?