Parent Refuses to Pay for Sister’s Laptop That Toddler Spilled Juice On. Is He/She in the Wrong?

As parents know all too well, when you’re caring for a child, there’s always the chance your personal property might end up “in the line of fire”—aka spit on, spilled on, stomped on—in other words, ruined forever. The best measures you can take include: never taking your eyes off the little one, babyproofing your home, and keeping important things WAY out of reach.

When you bring your child to someone else’s house for babysitting, however, there’s much less you can control. But it should be common sense for the sitter to know what not to leave near a toddler, right? In one parent’s case, they left their 2-year-old son at their sister’s house for the weekend, and the toddler ended up accidentally spilling juice on a $3,000 gaming laptop. When she asked for a replacement, the parent refused. That answer did not go over so well, so they’ve taken to Reddit for a verdict.

In the Subreddit AmItheAsshole (AITA), the parent, who goes by the username Throwawayss567, explained that the sister had offered to babysit the child so that they could go on a work trip; This wasn’t the first time she’s watched him and reiterated that she “knows what to expect.” But this time, the sister had left her gaming laptop, worth $3,000, on the floor of her lounge room. The 2-year-old was in the room too with an open cup of apple juice that she just gave him. “He decided to use the laptop as a table on the floor. Things happen and somehow it got knocked over,” the OP wrote.

“Her laptop no longer switches on. She’s blaming me and expects me to buy her a new one. I told her no as it shouldn’t have been in his reach and certainly not on the floor,” the parent wrote, defending themselves. “She’s refusing to speak to me at the moment and said she’ll never babysit for me ever again. I really don’t feel as though it’s my responsibility … AITA?”

Later on, the OP provided more info on the situation, writing that they had packed both a straw cup and sippy cup in their son’s bag, had supplied everything he’d need for the weekend, and that the OP’s parents were originally going to babysit, but “my sister specifically asked if she could so she’d be able to spend time with him. It wasn’t just ‘babysitting’ but more [about] enjoying time with her nephew.” The OP also revealed that they gave the sister some money for takeout or extra supplies, and that she was “happy with that as ‘payment’ for watching my son,” and that “every other time she’d had him, the laptop has always been far out of reach.”

Many Redditors thought the blame should be on the sister; she should’ve known better than to leave her laptop on the floor and give the toddler an open cup of juice, especially because she had watched the child before.

“I’m going NTA (Not the Asshole) on this one. There is a point where the babysitter’s responsibility supersedes that of the child (and by extension, child’s parents). It was naive at best to give a toddler an open cup of apple juice and not expect it to spill it. To leave it in a room unsupervised with an expensive laptop on the floor is just asking for trouble,” wrote user nowaternofflower.

“A planned babysit with a toddler you are familiar with … She should have done some babyproofing. Picking expensive electronics up off the floor is a no brainer. NTA,” commented user madcuzimflagrant.

Others thought the OP should pay at least a little bit of money towards a replacement to make nice with the family member.

User ButtonJoe suggested the parent pay 50 percent of the repair costs, or go to the manufacturer or a computer repair shop to see what can be done. The Redditor didn’t think the OP should buy the sister a new machine because it’s likely not worth $3,000 anyway because it’s used. “Long story short, it might be worth the money to keep a good relationship with your sister,” the Redditor wrote.

User LaFemmeVoyage pointed out that standing your ground on the issue isn’t worth ruining your relationship with your sister, or your child’s relationship with his aunt. “Yes, she was negligent but she was also doing you a favor. I don’t think you’re necessarily obligated to do anything here, but I would offer to split the cost with her for the sake of the relationship.”

Redditor Alexion33 thought the OP was the asshole since the sister had offered to babysit more than once. “The least you could do would be paying for the laptop that your kid destroyed, even if it was silly to leave it on the floor. Maybe she was paying more attention to your kid than to where to put her laptop. She should not even have to ask you. It should come out from you the same way it came out from her to take care of the kid. You should be more grateful.”

And then some users felt both sides were in the wrong.

“ESH (Everyone Sucks Here.). Go half and half. She was negligent in her placement of it, but it’s still your child, and your responsibility, even if it was an accident,” commented user oodlesofschmoodles.

Since writing the post a few hours ago, the OP has been active in the comments section, and recently wrote that they’ll try discussing getting the laptop repaired with the sister, and would be “happy” to split the cost. As of now, there’s still no final verdict from Reddit.