A Brooklyn infant died after his father allegedly tried to treat the boy's cough by leaving him alone in a steaming bathroom.
Mordechai Halpern, 1, had a chronic cough, so his 27-year-old father, whose name has not been released, reportedly tried to treat the baby by putting him in the steam-filled bathroom on Sept. 14, according to DNAInfo.
The man had tried to treat his son's cough with a drink made from lemon, sugar and water, but when that didn't work, he reportedly brought the child into the bathroom in a stroller with a blanket covering him and let the faucets run with hot water to fill the room up with steam.
The father is reported to have turned the shower on with just hot water, and closed the shower curtain, leaving the stroller next to the toilet, according to New York Daily News.
The father is then reported to have left Mordechai alone in the bathroom, going back to sleep and setting his alarm for an hour. When the baby's mother, 22, came into the bathroom, she found the child unconscious.
A source said Mordechai's body temperature was at 108 degrees.
After police arrived around 5:15 a.m., the baby was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"It is a tragedy," said the family's lawyer, Susan Necheles. "Right now, the family is in mourning."
"We're trying to get the facts," added Necheles.
No arrests have been made in the case, but police are questioning the boy's parents. The medical examiner will determine Mordechai's cause of death.
Police do not believe the father intended to harm the baby.
The boy had no visible signs of physical trauma, police said. A spokesman for the Administration for Children's Services said it was investigating the case. Citing privacy laws, the representative was unable to say whether the agency had interacted with the family before.
Mordechai was buried on the night of Sept. 14.
WebMD says that mist from a warm, not hot, shower can be helpful for a baby's cough, but recommends sitting in the bathroom with your baby, instead of leaving the child unattended.
Alternatives can include 1 to 3 teaspoons of warm apple juice or water, or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey throughout the day as needed.
A humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer can also be helpful for keeping a baby's room from becoming too dry, so the baby's nose and throat stay moist. It's important to clean a humidifier regularly to avoid mold growing in it.