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Toddler declared brain dead after caregiver improperly fastened him in car seat, family says

INDIANAPOLIS -- A 17-month-old was declared brain-dead days after he was improperly fastened in a car seat by a state approved caregiver, the child's family told WXIN.

A counselor at Lifeline Youth and Family Services took to the child to his father's home for a supervised visit on Wednesday. When the caregiver arrived at the home, she opened the door and found the child slumped over in the car seat and not breathing, according to Jackie Smith, the boy's grandmother.

The boy's father performed CPR until emergency officials arrived. He was rushed to Riley Hospital for Children, but a doctor told the family he was without oxygen to the brain for 30 minutes.

The family told WXIN the child strangled to death because he was improperly fastened in the car seat. The boy has not shown any signs of brain activity. Family members are hopeful his organs can be donated.

Homicide detectives are now investigating.

Lifeline Youth and Family Services launched its own investigation and is cooperating with police. The company's president told WXIN he is heartbroken over the incident. He insisted their procedures and policies are solid, however he would not say if the caregiver followed the rules. The woman has been suspended with pay.