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Mom accused of giving teething baby ‘lethal dose’ of Benadryl

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LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - A Louisa mother was arrested and charged with Involuntary Manslaughter and Child Abuse and Neglect after lab results determined her six-month old child Tyler Firth died from a lethal dose of Benadryl, Louisa County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Sims wrote in an email.

Tristan T. Goodwin, 31, was arrested Dec. 4.

"I don't think she meant to do it," Brian Firth, the infant's father, told CBS 6 reporter Shelby Brown. "I know Tristan better than anyone else in this world including her own family."

Sims said investigators spent nearly a month looking for Goodwin after her Nov. 6 indictment.

"She has been cooperative. She's been very upset about this. She has shown that she's very upset which is why we don't believe she intentionally tried to harm or kill her baby it was just a poor decision. That is why the charge is involuntary manslaughter," Sims said.

The child's March 19 death was originally believed to be sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), Sims said. However labs results showed otherwise.

"Lab results indicated a lethal dose of Benadryl and high levels of Tylenol present in the baby's body," Sims said. "Subsequent to the lab analysis detectives submitted additional items for forensic testing."

Firth said Tyler was teething and had a runny nose when Goodwin gave him the medication.

"She said she gave Benadryl to her other babies and I told her she's damn lucky it didn't kill the other kids," he said.

Goodwin will remain locked up at the Central Virginia Regional Jail pending a Dec. 16 court date. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

When EMS responded to the home, along the 1500 block of Roundabout Rd., they found Tyler not breathing. He was pronounced dead on arrival at UVA Hospital.


    • Elliott Lanosa

      It is no surprise. People use Benedryl to keep their kids quiet or asleep because they can’t be bothered. I think this is the case here, otherwise this child would not have died of an overdose. They don’t say how much was found in his system but she needs to go to jail and hopefully have no more children Afterall they say she said she has given Benedryl to other children. That speaks volumes to me, she used the medicine to keep the kids sedated and not in her way. She is evil, she proved that by not being found for well over a Month. People, Benedryl is not a baby sitter for you!

      • Elaine

        What makes you so certain she was drugging the baby to keep him quiet? I was told by my children’s pediatrician to give them benedryl and tylenol for teething…I have 4 children. I admit it sounds suspicious, but it could truly have been an accident. My heart goes out to the entire family. Very sad news.

      • Lisa Noteasilysearchable

        And you’ve known this woman personally for how long??? Yes, she got very lucky in that the Benadryl didn’t harm her other children, and maybe that’s why she felt safe giving it to this child also. I’m sure she never thought to ask her pediatrician if it was safe, and chances are another mother gave her the idea when her other children were younger. Honest mistakes actually get made, and unfortunately the results of this mistake were horribly tragic. For the baby and for her as well. Her son died — she will never get to hold him again, nor watch him grow up into adulthood.

        Believe it or not, not ALL parents are trying to sedate their kids so they can go party when they give their children medicine. The tylenol found in the baby’s system was probably for the pain from teething and the Benadryl may very well have been her attempt to treat his runny nose. If she was using a regular teaspoon instead of the proper dosing instrument, it’s easy to give a child (who is far more sensitive to the effects of medicine) too much. Unless you know someone personally, and know for a fact what their intentions were, you’re making unfair and unfounded assumptions and accusations. Or are you judging her and finding her guilty of doing this because it’s something you would do?

  • Nina Kaytel

    Reblogged this on Nina Kaytel and commented:
    I’m deeply saddened by this. This baby was supposed to grow up with my nephew; I considered the mother to be a great friend, we hung out together, saw The Hunger Games together … but alas you never really know people. R.I.P. little man, we’ll see you again.

    • Rebekah

      considerED??? so a mom made a judgement call that millions of other moms make, people give their babies benadryl daily and she made a dosage mistake and you arent going to stand by her? maybe she is lucky then, she has to live with this forever and it’s best now to know who your friends are. this is tragically sad, it frustrates me that people guess doses on meds but it was an accident, and one she will go to the grave with. I know im not perfect, I have made judgement calls before… I think we all have.

      • Nina Kaytel

        You can’t use proper grammar and punctuation so your argument is invalid. However, I’m not remarking on what you said because arguing people on the internet is an exercise in futility. I am a writer, my blog is about writing. Writing in past tense come naturally and is an accepted form of narrative and informative prose. Stop reading between the lines at the implied meaning. Why don’t you stop by I have some great lessons that will help you.

  • S.A.W

    I don’t think she meant to do, it’s very easy to misjudged medication dosages. I’ve done it, but in my end I was giving my daughter too little. So, I’m not so quick to judge others, I for one know that mistakes happen, I’m just really thankful that they won’t fatal, as many of us do things that can be…

  • marni

    People are so quick to judge.. How do you know she meant it? She is obviously very upset with this… It is never our place to judge another… I think its about time we all realize this!!! RIP little guy! Prayers for the father and the mother!

    • Melissa

      I think it is okay for us to judge child abusers, molesters, child rapists, child murderers. My judgement with this woman is that it’s possible she was ignorant to the dosage. There are a lot of parents who do the old school way of parenting, such as, well my grandparents gave this or did that to me and I turned out fine. HOWEVER, on the other side, there is no Benadryl suitable for a 6 month old, and it clearly states this on the bottle. It needs to dosed by weight, and done by doctors(for the average person). I think we all know, benadryl makes you drowsy and puts you to sleep, and if that was her intention…then that is very bad, to where I don’t feel sorry for her in going to jail

      • Elaine

        Weight based dosing (I work in a hospital and audit medical records specifically for weight based dosing) CAN be reduced to a minimal dosage for an infant. The baby was 6 months old, and likely weighed 20-25 pounds. it is possible to dose per that weight. I did with all 4 of my children. Benedryl ALSO numbs the gums.

        For SW….I completely disagree that this is no different than leaving a child in a hot car. You do realized the child dies of suffocation usually, right? It’s all sad business. Very sad indeed.

  • sw

    You people on here judging this woman without knowing her make me sick. This is not a clear case of child abuse. She did not shake her baby or hit her baby. She was trying to help her baby. Babies get runny noses when they are teething and many parents use benadryl for the runny nose and tylenol for the teething pain. Not all parents are trying to sedate their child so as they are not bothered. Doctor’s have prescribed benadryl for babies that are traveling on a plane. Unless you are a perfect parent and never made a mistake you have no right to judge this woman. This is no different then some of these parents who have mistakenly left their infant in their car. You are ready to give her the death penalty but we have people shaking their babies to death and they are lucky to get a couple of years. You people need to pull your head out of your rear-end.

  • Cindy

    You don’t know what happened. I have a 1 year old who has been experiencing chronic colds and allergies from season changes. I have given him small doses of benadryl on several occasions to help him get rid of his congestion so he can get some rest. I would be devastated if this happened to me. I love my son more than anything, and for that reason it’s hard watch and let him suffer when he’s so sick.

  • Kim

    So sad. From the article and the police investigation, it was an accident. Parents want to make their children feel better when they are having a rough time being sick or teething, she just went about it in a way she didn’t know was dangerous. Heck parents used to rub whiskey on the gums to help teething pain. So were all parents back then “child abusers” as some of you ignorant people say? I have never given Benadryl in the case of teething, just some baby orajel on a frozen teething toy. She probably thought the Benadryl would get rid of his runny nose and take down the swelling in his gums. She obviously feels very terrible about her poor judgment. Poor baby, poor mother and father :(

  • shawn

    If anyone thinks that it was an accident your sadly mistaken. do your research. The lowest lethal dose was 62.5 mg for a infant. It clearly states on the benadryl site for dosing for weith 18-23 lbs to give 3.75 ml. Children over the age of 12 years may take the adult strength (25 mg) Benadryl. The dosage is 1-2 (tablets, kapgels, liqui-gels, or quick dissolve strips) every 4-6 hours .

    So the baby not on had benadryl but Tylenol too!!??

    Just Benadryl alone on the site says in bold letters :


    Yes he was 6 months but still not a good idea…

    This is the site that has all the info. if you feel bad for the mother think again!!

    Do your research before you judge. you will eat your own worlds like alot of you will after reading this.

    There is no way this was a accident. She Murdered that poor baby in cold blood!

    RIP lil one!! <3

  • Warrior

    Some of the comments on here are disgusting. Many, many people give their children Benadryl for various reasons. Not everyone is aware of the dangers. She seems extremely upset over the loss. That attitude is indicative of unintentional results. It’s NOT murder.

  • shawn

    seem*?? i bet bc she doesn’t want to go to prison. Are you that blind of the dangers of mixing”””””” MULTIPLE””””” medicines for adults much less an Infant???!! I’m a parent of a toddler i look at the label before i give him anything. if i question giving him something i call his pediatrician. Lacking doing so is just irresponsible.

    • Warrior

      Shawn, you are one hateful, spiteful person. You think you are the perfect parent, but I assure you, you are far from it. You are no better than this mother. I fear you will push your hatefulness onto your children. Maybe not now, but in the future.

      She’s upset over the loss of her child. I’m not blind to the dangers, but many are. Peds will sometimes tell you to alternate meds when a child is sick. There are also many old biddies who throw their brand of medicine on young mothers, who then take their word as gospel. Sounds like you’ll be one of the old biddies when you grow up.

      Ok, I’m done poking fun. Have a splendid day.

  • shawn

    I am better , But i am not perfect . i know not to give my son mixed medicines. Im not hateful nor am spiteful by any means. listen to the article both Meds giving were “LETHAL ” doses ?? I know better than to give my toddler that much!! read my post a few comments up. Its common sense. Sorry not all people were blessed by the hands of god with brains. But im sure glad i was blessed. You can go on and call names bUt give you a lil something to think about. Im a father, i am well educated , know better than to do that, i was brought up well with a good head on my shoulders and taught not to put up with ignorant people that being said…. call me what you want but I HAVE BEEN CALLED WORST BY BETTER PEOPLE…

    • Warrior

      No you are ignorant in that you think this woman should get the death penalty. Lethal dose for an infant isn’t that much, especially when it comes to Benadryl. You think you were blessed with brains, and you are likely smart enough in many matters, but not in what should become of this mother nor in the knowledge of her motivations. It doesn’t matter if you are educated or not. I’m educated and the parent to two great kids, yet I disagree with you. TYPE WHAT YOU WANT IN ALL CAPS. LOL

  • shawn

    to over dose a child with 2 types? its careless, no excuse. Im sorry your so soft minded you must be one of those people who believe that Obama is going to “change” things .. your a person who believes everything a Mainstream Media will feed you. they have guidelines to follow with different types of story’s to make the aduiance feel a certain way.

    if you believe that then how would you feel if a baby sitter did that to one of your children??

    i bet you would hold the sitters hand and say “Its ok” and hold their hand

    its sad to see all these soft people out there who will believe anything.

    • Warrior

      I happen to be a republican. In many matters we may agree on if you too are a republican. In this matter I don’t agree. Now if a babysitter gave my child medicine without my consent, whether or not there were ill effects, I’d raise heck. There would be no hand holding. That is a very different situation than this. This was a mother trying to help her baby, but lacked the knowledge and made a horrible decision resulting in the loss of her child.

  • alyssa

    I don’t believe Tristan done this on purpose. this women is my family and i can’t bring myself to believe my mother would drug Tyler! I haven’t seen my mother Tristan since 2011 and at that time she in a good place in her life I also never had the chance to meet my younger brother but i guess you can’t tell…. unless there’s evidence… guess we’ll see what happens Monday at court

    • S.A.W

      Alyssa, may God be with you and your family. No one has a right to judge. I definitely don’t believe she purposely did this, I can feel it in my heart, contrary to what’s said. Be encouraged…

Comments are closed.