Toddler Declared Brain Dead After Car Seat Mishap

A family in Indiana is trying to decide whether to pull the plug on their 17-month-old child's life-support machine.

Major Maxie was declared brain dead days after he was found unconscious in his car seat. He was being looked after by a state-approved care giver at the time, who was responsible for taking him to his father's house for supervised visits, according to WXIN.

Major had recently been returned to his mother's custody after spending time in two foster homes.

The care giver, who is employed by Lifeline Youth and Family Services, collected Major from his mother's place of residence on May 31. She strapped him into his car seat and drove him to his father's house.

But when they arrived, Major was slumped over in his car seat, not breathing. His father performed CPR until paramedics arrived and transported the toddler to a nearby children's hospital.

"The doctor stated he was without oxygen to the brain for 30 minutes," Major's grandmother, Jackie Smith, told WXIN.

The family has argued that Major was strapped into his car seat the wrong way by the care giver.

"My sister don't deserve this, he don't deserve this, my nephew don't deserve this," said Ashley Smallwood, Major's aunt.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Department of Child Services (DCS) have confirmed that a joint investigation into the incident has been opened. The goal will be to determine whether abuse or neglect played a role.

DCS said such investigations are routine whenever a child under the age of 3 is killed or seriously injured. Its website states that "investigations of abuse or neglect may be substantiated or unsubstantiated."

Mark Terrell, CEO of Lifeline Youth and Family Services, said his company has begun its own investigation.

"First and foremost this is a tragedy, second is our prayers go out to that family and everybody involved," he told WXIN. "The issue right now is again is to determine what happened and so that it never happens again."

Terrell indicated that the care giver in question has been suspended with pay. He would not say whether the care giver breached company protocol in her handling of Major.

Doctors say Major has not shown any signs of brain activity in the hospital. His family now has to decide whether they want doctors to cease making life savings efforts. They are reportedly hopeful that his organs can be donated.

"He was an awesome little guy, always happy, put joy in everybody's heart," his grandmother said.

Sources: WXIN, Indiana Department of Child Services / Photo credit: Pixabay

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