A pair of daycare providers in northern California are now in jail facing charges for reportedly binding the arms and legs of babies during nap times.
Nazila Sharaf, 35 and Lida Sharaf, 33, both sisters, were reported to police when a 19-year-old worker became disgusted by their actions and turned them in.
The woman said the two sisters used cloth material tied in knots to wrap the children tightly, restricting their ability to move and breathe during nap times at Universal Preschool in Livermore, Calif.
They placed the babies' cribs in the back, far away from the door so they had enough time to unbind them if their parents came in.
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While swaddling is common for newborns, an expert said this was not swaddling.
"We interviewed one expert who told us to stop calling this 'swaddling.' He said swaddling is tucking. This used knots. It was binding," Livermore Police Spokesman Steve Goard said.
The babies were also as old as 11 months, and swaddling should be stopped at six months.
When the 19-year-old woman reported the daycare, social workers made a surprise visit to the center and found the oldest baby tied up in the crib.
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"When our detectives walked in, they were like, 'Whoa, this is criminal.' One of our detectives was smart enough to take pictures," Goard said. "It was very emotional showing those photos to the parents for identification. It was heartbreaking."
An investigation revealed that three of the babies suffered from upper respiratory conditions, making it difficult for them to breathe, especially when they were bound.
"We really can't commend the 19-year-old worker enough. These babies could have easily gone into distress and died, and this would be a much different investigation," Goard said.
Goard also revealed that Nazila Sharaf was entirely aware the practice was illegal, as her daycare license was revoked in 2010 after a swaddling violation.
One year later, her sister opened up Universal Preschool.
"They clearly knew what they were doing was wrong," Goard said.
They are now facing three counts of felony child abuse and neglect and four misdemeanor counts of child abuse.