Day care provider convicted of causing infant's death with antihistamine sentenced to 3 to 10 years

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont day care provider convicted of manslaughter in the death of an infant she was caring for in her home was sentenced on Tuesday to three to 10 years in prison.

Stacey Vaillancourt was accused of sedating Harper Rose Briar with an antihistamine in 2019. The 6-month-old was found unresponsive while in Vaillancourt's care, and an autopsy determined she had high concentrations of diphenhydramine, the sedating ingredient in some over-the-counter antihistamines including the brand Benadryl. The drug is not recommended for infants without a doctor's order, and there was no such order for Harper.

At trial, Vaillancourt’s defense attorney said there was no evidence to prove Vaillancourt sedated the infant, but the prosecutor told jurors that no one else could have done it. Vaillancourt denied giving the infant anything that wasn’t provided by her parents.

A jury in December convicted the former child care provider of manslaughter and child cruelty.

A phone message was left with Vaillancourt's attorney seeking comment on the sentence.