'Bottle propping' warning after baby's tragic death

A coroner has warned against "propping up" babies and leaving them unsupervised with bottles of milk, 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, on October 3, 2015.

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

A coroner has warned against 'propping up' babies and leaving them with bottles, after a four-month-old died. Source: Getty, file
A coroner has warned against 'propping up' babies and leaving them with bottles, after a four-month-old died. Source: Getty, file

An inquest on Friday 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.

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

He told Alex’s family he was sorry their little boy died, according to Lincolnshire Live.

“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.

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