LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Police arrested a Lafayette mother accused of beating and burning her baby.
Eighteen-year-old Danielle Hunt is facing battery and neglect charges after she confessed to police.
Court papers reveal the 3-month-old baby had blistered burns to his face and upper body. Doctors also found numerous healing fractures in his legs, ribs, vertebrae and his skull. Hunt told detectives she abused her baby "out of anger."
“When parents get frustrated, that’s when you’re at a higher risk for child abuse and neglect to occur,” said Audrey Mabe, a parent education supervisor with Families First. The organization teaches parents how to deal with overwhelming situations, which can prove especially difficult for younger parents.
According to charging documents, Hunt recalled one situation when some of her son’s dirty diaper got onto her. Hunt admitted she then "squeezed the infant’s foot until she heard a popping noise." The young mother also told investigators she threw her baby at a chair because he wouldn’t stop crying.
“I can’t imagine what that parent felt like to do something like that, to that degree to a child,” said Mabe.
“You’re going through so many transitions yourselves and transcending into adulthood so there’s a lot of pressure to be independent, to have a job, have transportation, have it all it all together,” said Mabe.
When questioned about her baby’s burns, Hunt allegedly told police she held him in the shower under hot running water until she noticed his skin starting to burn.
At last check, the baby is still hospitalized and listed in serious but stable condition.
Parenting experts want parents to know that feeling stressed or frustrated is part of being a parent, but if the situations gets to the point of potentially becoming dangerous, it’s time to reach out for help.
“One of the ways you can help feeling so frustrated when you’re baby is crying, is always put them in a safe place and you can walk away. You can go in another room, out on your front porch and get some fresh air or you can always call someone for help. Call a neighbor, call a friend, call a family member if you feel like it’s too overwhelming for you,” said Mabe.
The crisis hotline number is 317-251-7575. There is someone who will answer your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.