Fairfield daycare operator arrested more than 5 months after 4-month-old dies

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FAIRFIELD — Nearly two months ago an infant’s death at an unlicensed Fairfield daycare center was ruled a homicide. Now, someone has been arrested.

According to Deputy Police Chief Chris Lyddy, a 4-month old Shelton boy was found dead on March 22. It was determined he died from toxic levels of over-the-counter drugs in his system. The infant was first thought to have succumbed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but extensive postmortem testing conducted over the months that followed revealed the baby had extremely high levels of diphenhydramine, or Benadryl, in his blood.

On Thursday, police arrested Carol Cardillo, 53, of Fairfield. She is charged with manslaughter in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree and risk of injury to a minor.

She was released on $250,000 bond and is due in court September 15.

In addition to the death investigation, Fairfield Police have previously said they would be pursuing criminal infractions against the makeshift daycare for operating out of a private home without a license. It’s not clear if those charges would be brought against Cardillo or someone else, but she does live in the Edgewood Road home where the baby died.

Diphenhydramine, most commonly known as Benadryl, is an antihistamine meant to treat moderate to severe cold symptoms in adults. The FDA warns against administering the medication to infants under two-years-old without a doctor’s supervision, due to increased risk of overdosing.

For more information on the hazards of giving cough and cold medicine to infants, read this FDA disclaimer.