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Babysitter, 11, Charged in Death of Tot, 2

An evening at work for an Atlanta-area mother turned tragic after she left her two-year-old daughter at the apartment of a co-worker.

Ashlea Collier says she left the toddler, Zeyda White, at the Sandy Springs, Ga. apartment Saturday night while Collier went to work.

The co-worker, Kiyosha Bell, admitted to CBS affiliate WGCL in Atlanta that she wasn't home that night and had left her 11-year-old daughter alone to babysit for Zyda.

When Collier went to pick her daughter up, police say, Zeyda was unconscious. She died later at a hospital.

The sitter, whose name isn't being released due to her age, told authorities Zeyda had fallen off the bed.

But the coroner ruled that her death was the result of blunt force trauma.

This week, the sitter was charged as a juvenile with felony murder and cruelty to children.

Police are also mulling counts against Bell.

"I hope she gets charged to the fullest," Collier told WGCL. "I hope her daughter gets life, because she took my daughter's life. My daughter is not supposed to be dead. She is supposed to be standing next to me."

Collier says she fears she will always be haunted by nightmares after learning of how Zeyda died.

The babysitter "traumatized my daughter," Collier remarked to WGCL. "How do you do that? How do you kill my baby? A two year old? What did my daughter do? I wanna know why she did it."

"If you don't know the 11-year-old, and there's no adult supervising, that is a prescription for disaster, especially when a kid is so young. When they're two and younger, you really need a more mature personality to watch that child," Robi Ludwig, Ph.D. told co-anchor Chris Wragge on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning".

Ludwig offered advice for parents on getting a good sitter.

What's the youngest a sitter should be?

"I would go with 14 years old and older and, of course, knowing that that 14-year-old has had some experience and seems mature and it's a job that they want t do. And, also, you need to really check around with other parents to hear what the reputation is for that child. So, just don't go only on age, but I think that's a good barometer."

Parents, she says, also need to ask the "what if" questions. "When you think about it," Ludwig observed, when you're hiring for a job, don't you ask specific questions about the person you're hiring? Well, it's no different when you're looking for somebody to watch your child. You want to ask them, how do they handle discipline? How would they handle it if your child is resisting going to bed? 'How would you handle it if the child is crying?' And you want to hear, how strict are they? Do they have good coping skills? Are they somewhat flexible?"

References are also very important, Ludwig pointed out, adding, "You don't want to just say when you call on a reference, 'Hey, you did like this babysitter"' You want to find out if the person was responsible, did the person show up on time, did the children really like this babysitter and look forward to them coming? So, you really want to get a whole picture, a three-dimensional picture who this babysitter is."

A "babysitter" audition could also help, Ludwig notes. "That's when you see how the babysitter is around your child. Hopefully, when you're looking for a babysitter, you have that time factor to maybe include them and observe them with your children. A lot, too, is a personality mix: Do they work well in your home?"

Another key: leaving a list of emergency phone numbers - not only yours - but a neighbor's, a doctor's, and even that of the police and fire departments.

Ludwig also said some prepping helps. "You are the expert on your child," she said. "Maybe you want to warn the sitter (about your child's habits, tendencies and likes and dislikes) so the sitter is mentally prepared and doesn't feel kind of off-guard."

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