Babysitter arrested for child abuse; Springville toddler in hospital

Posted at 11:57 AM, Sep 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-16 23:42:51-04

SPRINGVILLE, Utah - A toddler is in the hospital and a babysitter is behind bars after the 15-month-old boy was found with serious brain injuries.

Officers arrested Jacob Scott Erickson on suspicions of child abuse when the boy vomited for days after the child was in his care.

The child was sent home from a hospital and pediatrician's office with nausea medication, but after he suffered a seizure at home he was rushed to a hospital--where doctors discovered a brain bleed along with retinal bleeding and other issues.

Doctors told police the injuries could only have come from severe trauma to the head. Police say Erickson admitted to grabbing the boy and lifting him off the ground when he was very upset.

There were no external injuries observable prior to the seizures.

Doctors said the boy's injuries were consistent with trauma to his head, like he was shaken. While doctors can't comment on specific cases, ER Doctor Tayor Kallas said sometimes it can be difficult to make a diagnosis based on symptoms, as things like vomiting are, statistically, most likely a result of a viral illness.

"And that is a very difficult situation when there's not an obvious cause or obvious signs of trauma as to evaluate a potential case of child abuse," Kallas said.

He said it's important for parents to be aware of who is with their children and if anything seems out of the ordinary.

"I think in general these are very difficult cases," Kallas said. "These are often times difficult to diagnose. Frankly, it's just a matter of knowing your kids, you know, where they're at, who's there with them? And if anything strikes you as being off or odd, it's worth getting checked out."

Doctors say the injuries the child suffered are like those seen when a baby is shaken.

"The long lasting effect of shaken baby syndrome can vary from complete recovery, to coma and permanent disabilities," Kallas said.

Erickson was arrested at an apartment in West Jordan, and he is being held on charges of second-degree felony child abuse.

Officials stated the boy suffered severe head trauma, but specific details about his condition Friday were not available.