Chances are you remember Alexandra V. Tobias, the mother who was convicted of shaking her baby to death because he cried while she was playing FarmVille. Now another woman has admitted to allowing her child to die while she was on Facebook. Shannon Johnson was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison because her 13-month-old son drowned in the bathtub while she was in another room, consumed with playing Cafe World.
Johnson’s son died Sept. 20 after she left him alone in the bathroom for a few minutes, Colorado’s 9News.com reports. Johnson told officers her infant had been “playing in the tub for 10 minutes and she had checked on him once.” According to police records, “When three minutes passed without the sound of him playing, she went to check on him and found him on his side with his face in the water.”
This story, though sad and unfortunate, is understandable. Internet addiction is an increasing problem, and certainly the stress of being home alone with a baby could lead one to want a little relaxation time on the ol’ Internet. Though it’s common knowledge young children cannot be left alone in the bath, I don’t think there’s any mother out there who hasn’t walked out of the bathroom leaving a 2-year-old in the tub for a second to answer the phone. (If you haven’t, you’re a better woman than I am.) The problem is not only that Johnson’s baby was so young, but that she had it in her mind that he wanted to be alone in the tub.
“According to the affidavit, Johnson told police her baby wanted to be left alone” and she described him as “a very independent baby.” Ummm… the phrase “independent baby” is sort of an oxymoron, no? That’s like saying “liberal Republican.” Worse yet, Johnson “told police she knew what it was like to be told no, and that she did not want her baby to be told no.” That he couldn’t be alone in the tub at 13 months? What 13- month-old has the language skills to ask to be alone in the tub? It’s not like he looked at her and said, “Mom, I know you want to bathe me, but I got this. I just need some me time to soak in the suds.” Ugh.
“The affidavit says she also did not want him to be known as a mama’s boy,” 9News reports. Well, there’s no chance of that happening now.
Seriously, parents: I know it can be hard if you’re alone with an infant, and no one is perfect, but make it a point never to leave your baby alone in the bathtub. You might live to regret it, and your child might not.