SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A local mother says she may have prevented a tragedy of her own after removing her child from a Sioux Falls daycare.
On Tuesday, KELOLAND News learned police had arrested 30-year-old Kayla Styles in the November death of a 9-month-old boy at her in-home daycare.
According to an affidavit, Styles told investigators she put the baby in a car seat for a nap because she thought it would be better for his cough.
When Styles checked on him about two hours later, he was not breathing.
In the court papers, Styles admits to fastening the top strap of the car seat, but not the two bottom clasps.
The child slid down and was strangled by the top clasp, according to the affidavit.
When a Sioux Falls mother heard about the news, she started recalling her own experiences with Styles’s daycare.
Natalie Lowe says she started taking her son Braxton to Styles’ daycare at the end of 2017, but something seemed off to the mother when she would drop off her son in the morning.
“She had me put his car seat in the entryway. She would go and get him when he would wake up,” Mother Natalie Lowe said.
Other mornings, Lowe says Styles would have her place Braxton, while still in his car seat, in a bedroom.
“In all honesty, I never saw my son in a Pack ‘n Play or a crib ever,” Lowe said.
While Lowe admits she only saw how the daycare operated during dropoff and pickup, she removed her son after about four or five months.
Lowe’s heart sank when she found out about the latest news surrounding her former daycare provider.
“That poor baby. My son, that could’ve been him, at that time, you know? If I wouldn’t have taken Braxton out, what could have happened? That could’ve been my child. My heart broke. Heart broke,” Lowe said.
While Lowe says she did her research back in 2017, she’s encouraging all parents to be extra careful.
“Pay attention. Pay attention to where they’re napping, what they’re doing right away in the morning. Make sure all the safety–you know that it’s safe,” Lowe said.
An autopsy says the cause of death is “positional asphyxia due to inappropriate sleep environment.”
It’s been listed as an accident.
Styles is facing charges of manslaughter and abuse or cruelty to a minor.