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Salt Lake City woman gets prison time for infant abuse due to swaddling

Published March 29, 2013 2:03 pm

Courts • Mother broke several of the baby's ribs when wrapping child in cloth.
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A 34-year-old woman accused of breaking several of her baby's bones while using the ancient practice of "swaddling" was sentenced Friday to prison.

Ayesha Yousuf Amir, of Salt Lake City, pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to two counts of intentional child abuse, a third-degree felony, as part of a deal with prosecutors. As part of the agreement, the court dismissed three additional child abuse charges and reduced the two to which she pleaded, sparing Amir what could have amounted to 75 years in prison.

Instead, Judge Judith Atherton ordered Amir to serve a maximum of five years in prison. An independent board will determine how long she actually spends behind bars.

According to charging documents, Amir took her then 10-week-old daughter to Primary Children's Medical Center in October 2011 to be treated for a possible broken leg.

During their examination of the infant, doctors discovered several others injuries, ranging from leg and pelvis fractures to multiple broken ribs, all in various stages of healing.

Doctors said the baby also had bruising above her nose, on her chest and on her toes.

After she was arrested, Amir admitted to "swaddling" the infant, police said.

Swaddled infants are wrapped tightly in cloth to restrict their movements. Some believe the practice helps babies sleep, though studies indicate it may increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

In addition to serving time in prison, the judge ordered Amir to complete 100 hours of community service and pay a $750 fine. She will be placed on probation for 36 months upon her release from the Utah State Prison.

It was not immediately clear whether Amir, whose U.S. visa expired in March 2010, would ultimately be deported to Pakistan.


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