This story came across my news feed this morning.
The father of a 2 day old infant is being criminally charged by New York prosecutors with child endangerment and harassment because he attempted to take his son outside for “fresh air” and to “look at the moon.”
The story only showed up on my news feed because an emergency physician testified on behalf of the defendant in the case and the term “emergency physician” is one of the keywords on my news feed, but the case also illustrates the point I was trying to make in the post a couple of days ago.
The emergency physician was a family friend and was visiting the family in the hospital when the incident occurred. He testified that he believed it was “fine” that the dad took the infant outside. The incident occurred during January, but according to the emergency physician’s account, the child was “dressed pretty warmly.” Prosecutors alleged that the emergency physician didn’t have the professional experience to know what is in the best interests of a newborn infant.
According to the article, a charge of child endangerment requires that prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the father knowingly put his child in a situation where the child was likely to be injured.
The rule appears to be that intentionally taking newborns outside in cold weather – even if warmly dressed – is a crime in New York State.