After a head lice home remedy went awry last Saturday, Jan. 31, one Springfield, Mass. toddler died. While typical treatments include simple insecticide shampoos, the toddler's parents decided to opt for an alternative treatment using household items, which resulted in the suffocation of the 18-month-old.
As its natural ingredients contain oil and an acid (vinegar or lemon juice) which have proven effective in treating head lice, the parents used mayonnaise on the child's head. But it wasn't the active ingredients or the treatment that led to the girl's death. Rather, it was what was holding the treatment in place.
To contain the lice until they were all dead, the parents placed a plastic bag over the 18-month-old's head. Parents had put the child to bed on Friday night with the treatment on her scalp, but when the bag slipped down her face, officers say that the child suffocated in her sleep.
Police officers in Springfield, Mass. responded to the girl's home Saturday at 3pm after receiving a call that indicated the child was not breathing. Department spokesman Sergeant John Delaney says that when officers arrived on the scene they found an adult administering CPR to the child. However, after examination from medical personnel on the scene, officers determined that the child had been dead for quite some time.
"This is a very sad incident" Delaney says.
No charges have been filed by the department as of yet, however, the incident is under investigation by local and state officials in Massachusetts.