‘I wish I could hear that baby cry again’: Mom speaks out after cellphone distraction led to her baby girl’s bathtub drowning

An Idaho mom shared her story on Saturday morning with a local outlet, after serving time in jail for the death of her toddler daughter, who drowned in a bathtub in 2016.

East Idaho News reports that Kelsee Flatland, 27, is now free after serving time for involuntary manslaughter. Her daughter, 13-month-old, Zyra Flatland, drowned in a bathtub after Flatland left the toddler alone in the tub with her 2-year-old brother. Flatland then walked downstairs, paid her cellphone bill, and talked on her phone. Her then-husband, Paul, was playing video games in their living room.

Court documents indicate that Flatland “had been using her phone for a period of at least 35 minutes and possibly more than 50 minutes from the time she left the bathroom and the time she returned.” She ended up serving 100 days behind bars after taking a plea deal. Paul, who said he had no idea Zyra was in the bath, was not charged.

Fly high Baby Girl! Her & Kynslee share the same Birthday! 😭

Posted by Marissa West on Thursday, September 15, 2016


“They were playing around and I thought this would be a good time to grab my cell phone, pay the bill and then I’ll be right back up,” Flatland told East Idaho News. “From there, it was cell phone epidemic. You get distracted, lose track of time and you don’t realize how many minutes have passed. I just got distracted.”

Flatland said that her son, who was unharmed, got out of the bathtub on his own. When she checked on Zyra, the toddler was unconscious. Flatland tried unsuccessfully to revive her and then called 911.

“I pulled her out of the bathtub and hit her back. I tried to clear her airways and started CPR. Paul came in and he took over and told me to call 911. I called 911 and I ended up re-taking over CPR while I was on the phone with the ambulance.”

The toddler was taken to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where medical professionals placed her on life support. The Flatland couple ended up agreeing to remove her from life support after learning that her brain was badly damaged. They donated her organs to science.

Flatland, who completed her jail sentence in Dec. 2017, remains on probation. She went through a divorce after the tragedy, and found out she was pregnant shortly after her Zyra’s death. Another daughter, Serenity, was born prematurely and remains in the  ICU at Primary Children’s hospital. Flatland is now hoping that other parents hear her story and learn from the mistakes she made.

“I was on my cell phone a while back looking at videos and I heard Zyra’s cry. Back then I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I wish this baby would stop crying’ but now it’s ‘I wish I could hear that baby cry again.’ Don’t take the little things for granted.”

[Feature Photo: Zyra Flatland/ Family Handout]