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Day care owners charged with abusive swaddling

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Two sisters facing charges that they endangered the lives of infants at their day care center by binding them too tightly in swaddling blankets didn't intend to hurt the babies and contend they didn't commit child abuse, their attorney said.

Timothy Rien spoke Thursday, as Nazila Sharaf and Lida Sharaf were arraigned in an Alameda County courtroom on three counts of felony child abuse and neglect and four counts of misdemeanor child abuse and neglect.

Swaddling is a technique used on babies in which a caregiver wraps the infant snugly. When done correctly, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Police allege Nazila Sharaf, 35, and Lida Sharaf, 33, wrapped up seven babies between the ages of 7 months and 1 year at their Northern California preschool in Livermore too tightly like a "boa constrictor," impairing their ability to move and breathe comfortably.

The babies' swaddling blankets were secured with heavy-duty knots for a "lengthy" period of time, and blankets were thrown over their faces while their arms and legs were bound, rendering them virtually incapable of rescuing themselves if they needed air, police said.-- AP

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