Babysitter in Ohio charged after 3-year-old was given a fatal dose of Benadryl

Police said they discovered the babysitter gave the toddler more than 5,000 milliliters of diphenhydramine. The child was pronounced dead at a Columbus hospital.

An Ohio man has been charged with murder after police say he gave a fatal Benadryl overdose to a toddler he was babysitting.

Randy Mollett, 35, is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment, according to Franklin County Municipal Court records. According to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, officers took him into custody on Wednesday.

It is unclear whether he has a lawyer.

On April 13 at 6:15 p.m., officers responded to a call about an unresponsive child at a home in Darbydale, southwest of Columbus. They found a three-year-old that Mollett was babysitting at his home for a family friend. Mollett told officers the child was experiencing a medical emergency and was having a seizure, according to the sheriff's office.

Paramedics took the victim to Nationwide Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An investigation revealed that Mollett gave the child more than 5,000 milliliters of diphenhydramine, a type of antihistamine known to be the active ingredient in Benadryl, which led to the child's death, according to court documents.

The sheriff's office has not identified the child.

Mollett was not given permission to administer Benadryl

Court records show Mollett had been caring for the child for about three days and the child's parents had not given him permission to administer Benadryl.

Mollett appeared in Franklin County Municipal Court on Thursday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. Judge Eileen Paley set bail at $1 million on each count and he remained in the Franklin County Jail Thursday.

His first court appearance on the murder charge is scheduled for Friday.

In 2009, Mollett was convicted of child endangerment and sentenced to eight years in prison, court records show. In that case, he admitted to hitting a 23-month-old child, which resulted in broken bones in both of the child's hands.

Is Benadryl safe for children?

According to Medical News Today, Benadryl is generally considered dangerous for infants or children under 2 years old. Small doses may only be given to infants aged 2 to 5 years as directed by a doctor.

Benadryl's official website recommends which of their medications are safe to take based on age and other factors.

According to the Mount Sinai Health System, in rare cases, an antihistamine can cause fetal overdose or severe cardiac arrhythmias that result in death. All medicines should be kept in child-resistant bottles and out of the reach of children.

Anna Harden

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