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Old 10-22-2012, 08:09 PM
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Angry This Is My State

This is an open letter posted on Facebook.

I am writing this letter for my son, a letter he is incapable of doing on his own. My son ******* passed away August 4th, 2011. He was not ill. He was extremely healthy, and was completely off the growth charts for height and weight. He was a strong, perfect five month old boy.
******* was left in the care of *****, owner of ***** Kids, license number *****. ******* began watching ******* on July 18th, 2011. She was given express instructions on how *******’s father and I wanted him cared for, the formula he was to drink, the foods for him to eat, and how we wanted him laid down for naps. Our doctor and the hospital told us to lay him down for naps on his back in a crib with no stuffed animals, bumper pads, or blankets, also known as safe sleeping.

The first week ******* was with *******, she mentioned to us how well he was napping. This struck us as odd since he never napped well at home. We assumed he was napping better due to adapting to the daycare schedule or perhaps because he was playing hard with the other kids. We did not know that he was being placed on his stomach for naps, which was causing him to sleep longer.
He developed a diaper rash his first week in the care of *******, which he had not had since he was one month old and had developed a milk protein allergy. On July 28th, 2011 I picked up ******* and took him home. I checked his diaper, which was soaked, not from just urine, but he had been playing in the kid pool with other children, set in the water with all of his clothing on (including diaper) and then put in the car seat. When I changed him his bottom was already blistering. He wailed when I tried to wipe him, and had to rinse him in the tub and lather him with Desitin. I went to the store to purchase extra Desitin and supplied it to ******* when I dropped off ******* the next day. I told her again that I wanted ******* wiped every time he was changed, powdered well, and to use the Desitin, which was very necessary due to his awful rash.
When I picked ******* up on July 29th, ******* was in the hall bath off of the front door styling her hair and applying makeup for a date night with her husband. Some of the daycare kids were in the bathroom with her. ******* was lying on the floor in the front bedroom off of the front door. He had been put down for a nap on the floor on his stomach on a folded up comforter. She opened the door to get him and I was stunned. I reiterated that he was never put on his stomach for naps, only on his back.
My husband and I discussed the whole weekend whether or not to allow ******* to watch ******* anymore. We doctored his diaper rash, not sure on what we should do.

A few days later on Thursday, August 4th started like any other day. A storm had knocked out our electricity for a few hours the night before, which allowed us a little bit more time with our little guy. I got him up that morning so he could be with me while I was getting ready for work, and he was especially “talkative.” I drove him to *******’s, dropped him off, kissed him and said, “I love you, Beans.” My day was normal until I clocked out of work and was getting ready to leave, when I received a strange phone call. The call was from Officer, and he wanted to question me regarding an incident that occurred at ******. I didn’t recognize the address right away, knew nothing about any incident, and told him he must have the wrong phone number. He then asked if I was *******, *******’s mother. I told him I was and he stated, “Oh, God, you don’t know yet”. At that point I became hysterical; he told me to calm down and go to St. Francis Hospital because ******* had choked at daycare. While a co-worker was driving me, I called *******, my husband, and told him to go to the hospital because ******* had choked. My husband knew nothing about the incident either, so we both went not knowing what was happening. When I got there, I knew something was wrong because the EMT crew, police, and hospital workers had lined the halls as I rushed in to find *******. Their eyes were full of pity, reluctant to meet mine.

******* had been there for just a few minutes before me. They had us in a small area while we waited for news. The chaplain and a doctor came into the room. The doctor explained that ******* had been in cardiac arrest for at least forty five minutes, and they were still trying to resuscitate him. We told the doctor we wanted to see *******. We went into the room where they were working on him, and when it was determined that he could not be revived, they stopped. My son’s steel-blue eyes had turned to what looked like shattered ice, all of the brightness had disappeared. I sat sobbing, stroking the top of his head, and feeling all of the warmth vanish. Our baby was gone.
There were so many questions that no one could answer. We had no idea what had happened, I was still under the impression he had choked. Then we received more information on his last day in the days and weeks that followed. We had been having a particularly warm summer, with over a month of consecutive one hundred degree days.

******* had been out that morning playing with the other children. When they came in from the heat, they ate lunch, and when he was finally laid down for a nap, he was placed on a double folded sleeping bag on his stomach. Almost two hours went by before ******* thought to check on him, although she did admit she was only in and out of the room; at that point he was not breathing. This was about four o’clock, which was about an hour before I was notified of any problem. The paramedics arrived, and then took *******.
Other than a few questions asked at the hospital by the detective, we were not notified or questioned any further by the Police Department. There was a contusion on *******’s nose that the detective was concerned about, and I told him that ******* had no marks on his face when I dropped him off that morning; his face was pristine. The detective asked us while at St. Francis Hospital whether or not we had specific sleeping instructions that had been given to the sitter. We told him that ******* was a back sleeper and that we had told ******* at our first visit with her that he was only to be placed on his back for sleeping. My husband later made a follow up call to the detective, and the officer stated that although he was not a doctor, by what he had seen at the site of *******’s death and the information he had, it looked like his death was caused by positional asphyxiation. The coroner stated the cause of death to be sudden infant death syndrome, but the term itself is too broad. We do not feel that the coroner had all of the information; did not know that ******* had been in the heat, laid down when exhausted, and while unattended on his stomach asphyxiated.

******* and I both contacted the Kansas Department of Health to see what would be done with ******* in repercussion for *******’s death. Protocol had not been followed, and we both did not understand why ******* still had a license to watch children. I was told to contact the Topeka office; I called and spoke to a woman named *******. I told ******* about the day that I had found ******* on his stomach on a folded comforter on the floor while at *******’s, and she explained while there was nothing that she could do about the fact that he had died while in her care, however, a child cannot be laid on the floor for sleeping. She called me back a few days later, and told me that *******’s license had been amended, and as of November 30th, 2011 she could no longer watch children 18 months or younger.
After purchasing *******’s open records from the Kansas Department of Health, ******* and I both learned that the Health Department has amended *******’s license again, allowing her to watch one infant in order to accommodate one of the parents who already had a child with ******* and now has an infant. She stated that she is now an advocate for SIDS, and will only follow safe sleeping protocol, having written a safe sleep policy and supervision policy because KDHE required her to. This comes at no comfort to my husband or me, and in fact trivializes the death of our son. This was protocol that should have been followed while she was watching *******. When ******* filled out and signed The Licensed Day Care Home and Group Day Care provider checklist in December of 2001, she agreed to not lay children less than 18 months of age on a soft surface to nap or rest. She was aware ten years before *******’s death of how an infant should be placed for napping.
Receiving the open records also informed us of many violations that ******* has had since becoming licensed in 2001. We read that in early 2003, KDHE was intending to revoke *******’s license due to felony intent to possess cocaine charge. That charge was later expunged. Later that year, a parent complained that children were being put in the closet and under dark stairs while ******* slept upstairs. The mother went to pick up her children, and they were in a dark room crying. One child had a soaked diaper that was leaking in to his shoes, and they were alone in a room with a hot water heater and furnace. A child care licensure surveyor substantiated children confinement to baby bed and play pen in a dark basement in a laundry room, lack of supervision, children crying while in confinement, provider sleeping during day care, and emotional and mental cruelty. The surveyor requested KDHE take action on this provider due to the hazards, safety and welfare of the children.

******* was investigated by the Health Department in September of 2003 for a complaint of leaving children in a car seat in a van during a hot August day. She had taken the children to a garage sale, and left the child in the car because he or she was sleeping. A grandparent to the child was at that garage sale, saw the child in the van, and made a complaint. ******* told the surveyor that the mother was ok with her taking the child out and having him in the van, however, the surveyor explained that does not matter, as it is unacceptable due to the heat danger and lack of supervision. It was recommended to the Health Department by the surveyor that enforcement action is taken before the children are more neglected.
A visit made on November 25, 2003 found ******* in her bed when the child care licensure surveyor arrived. The children were napping on blankets on the floor in a bedroom off of the front door, and one child was asleep with his coat on. ******* gave the children crackers and milk while files were being reviewed, and one child smiled and repeated over and over, “we get to eat!”

When ******* and I took ******* to *******, we knew nothing about the above history, or any of the other complaints that was found within the open records. The Kansas Department of Health had this information, and allowed a woman who is so careless with the lives of others continue to watch children. My complaint made to ******* was not found within the two hundred and seventy one pages we received in the open records; the full explanation of why she lost her ability to watch infants was not included.
Lexie’s Law was signed in 2010, and established a multitude of requirements for supervising children, including monitoring, diapering, and safe sleeping practices. Providers are to receive training in pediatric first aid, CPR, as well as safe sleep practices. ******* was not current in any of these required areas of training at the time of *******’s death. Lexie’s Law also implemented an online database to allow parents to view information about complaints on day care providers going up to three years back. The online database, however, does not provide complete information. Searching *******’s Kids shows that there was a complaint issued on August 5, 2011, however, *******’s death was listed as a complaint that needs correction, but does not state that a child died in her care. As recent as July 23, 2012, ******* has had a complaint investigated that required correction, but the database does not state what that complaint was for and what has to be corrected. From her history, a complaint could range from not having a child’s emergency contact information to an infant’s death, but without purchasing her open records a parent would not know exactly why a complaint was made.

From the Kansas Department of Health website, I read that an infant under one year of age should only be placed on their back for sleeping, not tummy or side, in order to reduce the risk of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome or positional asphyxiation. Child care professions are encouraged to educate the parent and all staff on the importance of safe sleeping. Infants are also supposed to be placed on a firm sleeping surface, and not allowed to overheat. ******* was only placed on his back for sleeping while at home, while ******* had been putting him on his stomach for naps. The result was death by is what is known as unaccustomed tummy sleeping. An infant who is placed on his stomach for naps by a child care provider, when he is used to sleeping only on his back at home, is eighteen more times for likely to die from SIDS. This information was readily available on the KDHE website, where child care providers are encouraged to follow all of the safe sleeping guidelines to protect the infants in their care. None of these safe sleeping guidelines were followed by ******* while ******* was in her care.

*******’s negligence and choice to not follow the guidelines for safe sleeping provided by KDHE, which is responsible for the licensing and monitoring of child care facilities, as well as her lack of supervision involuntarily caused *******’s death. She should not only be prosecuted for *******’s death, but also her license should be removed. She should no longer be allowed to be responsible for any children of any age. I do not want any other parent to have to experience the agony and sorrow my husband and I have had to endure these months since *******’s death.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:41 PM
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This is horrible. Hard to believe.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:55 PM
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Horrible story. God bless this family
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:26 PM
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Oh god. It's awful.
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:31 AM
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Sadly this is not the first or last time we will read stories like this.

Training for positional asphyxia is non-existent. Parents and providers seem to think their children are immune to this. As long as infants are left to sleep in adult beds, swings, car seats, high chairs and pallets on the floor, this will continue to happen.

Nobody thinks it can happen to them, it can. In this case the Mother had witnessed her infant sleeping on the floor, belly down, on a comforter.

Horrible it took a death for anyone to complain to authorities. I'd bet it had to do with lack of education.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:03 AM
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Truly a sad story.

I had never really heard of positional asphyxia until coming here.

Five years ago, our grandson's pedi told my daughter to never leave him in a carseat unless he was in a moving car. He said it was because he had immature lungs, now I know the real reason.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:49 AM
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So terrible.

Shame on the state for not having open files on providers and daycares. Shame on the provider for doing things the easy way, not the safe way. Shame on the parents for not doing their homework before this tragedy occurred. Shame on them again for not removing their child when they caught the provider doing something so dangerous.

This child was killed at the hands of a lot of adults. It is a needless death that could have been prevented by a lot of adults if they cared.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:00 AM
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its a sad story indeed. But I just don't understand why after all the red flags did they keep bringing the baby back. Also, why didn't they do a criminal check on her. Also, at 5 months old, the child could roll themselves onto their belly (I have a dcg who is doing this)
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:11 AM
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In our town there has been 2 positional asphyxia deaths here at family in-home daycares in the past 5 years that I am aware of. Possibly more that I haven't heard of.

The one was the baby was sleeping in a carseat in the living room and for some reason the strap wasn't hooked correctly and the baby slipped down into the carseat and basically strangled and the other one was the baby was placed face down in a pnp and died. Just horrible.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:16 AM
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It was no different than her putting a loaded gun to the infants head......and they continued to bring him back knowing she did it? I don't at all understand why anyone would leave their child with this provider after seeing her violate their request via doctors orders the first time. Especially a request that endangered the child's life.

The sleeping positioning aside what about the repeated scalding diaper rash from him sitting soaked in urine for so long?


I hate to be a cynic but there wouldn't be the sympathy garnered if they'd left their child with an addict, or child abuser. Everyone would be saying well, duh, if something bad happened. I'm sorry I fail to see this as any different. If anything I hope this brings attention to the fact that it is a parents responsibility to choose the very best provider they can and remove their child from care should they ever see signs (or witness all out acts) of neglect and endangerment - as these parents did well before their child actually passed.


Everyone here failed the child. That is the saddest part of all to me.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countrymom View Post
its a sad story indeed. But I just don't understand why after all the red flags did they keep bringing the baby back. Also, why didn't they do a criminal check on her. Also, at 5 months old, the child could roll themselves onto their belly (I have a dcg who is doing this)
Agree
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:26 AM
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So terrible.

Shame on the state for not having open files on providers and daycares. Shame on the provider for doing things the easy way, not the safe way. Shame on the parents for not doing their homework before this tragedy occurred. Shame on them again for not removing their child when they caught the provider doing something so dangerous.

This child was killed at the hands of a lot of adults. It is a needless death that could have been prevented by a lot of adults if they cared.
I was thinking this too. If I saw something I didn't like, was unsafe, I wouldn't bring them back, at all, even once more.

However, in the parents' defense, if you look at the timeline, the whole situation from start date to day of tragedy was only about 2 weeks. It could be that some people take awhile to think things over and they hesitated too much, weren't sure where else to take baby for care. No excuse in my opinion, just trying to think about why they'd keep returning. I certainly wouldn't. But that's easy to say when you're not the one in the situation.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:28 AM
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This is a terrible story but I think we need to remember that this is only one side of the story. A few things seem odd to me. For example how could the state know that the DCP was "in her bed" when they showed up, wouldn't she have to get up to answer the door? Also they make it sound like kids sleeping on the floor is horrible. I have kids sleep on nap mats on the floor.

But then other things seem strange to me too. I wouldn't be putting a 5mo into a kiddy pool, or laying a baby on the floor to sleep on a folded sleeping bag.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:35 AM
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Also, at 5 months old, the child could roll themselves onto their belly (I have a dcg who is doing this)
Absolutely. Great point.

That is why it is important not to have loose bedding or a soft mattress around the childs head to prevent rebreathing of exhaled air. THAT is what causes the death, hypoxia, not strangulation.

It is a slow process and many times the baby's body does not register the hypoxia. The baby simply slips into a deeper and deeper sleep until they stop breathing all together.

This is often why it does not show obvious signs of cause of death on preliminary reports. It is often mis-diagnosed as SIDS. They look perfect, there was no struggle.

I have read and re-read my own sons autopsy report so many times I have it memorized. I will never know for sure what happened at the providers house that day, but after reading the police report, I will always believe it could have been prevented by Education and a Supervised Naptime.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:50 AM
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sorry I have more thoughts. I find it odd too that the mom saw the child on the floor sleeping. Wouldn't she have questioned as to why he wasn't sleeping in a pnp. I don't know, something about this bothers me. Also, the part about the provider putting on make up, maybe the parents where late coming to pick the child up, and the provider had no choice. I know accidents happen, but this one has too many loop holes in it.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:00 AM
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I was thinking this too. If I saw something I didn't like, was unsafe, I wouldn't bring them back, at all, even once more.

However, in the parents' defense, if you look at the timeline, the whole situation from start date to day of tragedy was only about 2 weeks. It could be that some people take awhile to think things over and they hesitated too much, weren't sure where else to take baby for care. No excuse in my opinion, just trying to think about why they'd keep returning. I certainly wouldn't. But that's easy to say when you're not the one in the situation.
I do think that the parents probably had a lot of their own guilt after this happened.. wondering why they did not see things before it was too late, why this and why that... It was only a two week time frame, so I can see how they did not "get" the situation before their son died. How completely sad! If I was the parents I would have sued the provider just to get her license taken away. Makes me wonder why the state let her keep her license.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:02 AM
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sorry I have more thoughts. I find it odd too that the mom saw the child on the floor sleeping. Wouldn't she have questioned as to why he wasn't sleeping in a pnp. I don't know, something about this bothers me. Also, the part about the provider putting on make up, maybe the parents where late coming to pick the child up, and the provider had no choice. I know accidents happen, but this one has too many loop holes in it.
I see no issue with her putting on makeup if the kids were supervised. I had a wedding a few weeks ago on a Friday evening. I told everyone I was using naptime to do my hair and I would be walking out the door at 5pm when they were all picking up. I was in my little black dress, killer heels, and all dressed up when the kids were leaving.

I had the kids in my line of vision when I did my hair and makeup during naptime. When I got dressed, I just popped into the bathroom and changed quickly -- no longer than a typical bathroom break. The kids were all right on the other side of the door as my bathroom is in the playroom.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:04 AM
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I do think that the parents probably had a lot of their own guilt after this happened.. wondering why they did not see things before it was too late, why this and why that... It was only a two week time frame, so I can see how they did not "get" the situation before their son died. How completely sad! If I was the parents I would have sued the provider just to get her license taken away. Makes me wonder why the state let her keep her license.
Because positional asphyxiation is considered an accidental death much like SIDS vs. a negligence issue. There is little to no education on the matter. I am actually going to my county and offering to teach a class on it. They don't offer one. It scares the hell out of me that SIDS is so covered, but people think it is safe for kids to sleep in carseats, swings, etc. It is the same thing as soft bedding, IMO.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:05 AM
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If I have something going on in the evening I sometimes have to get ready before the kids go home also.

I participated in a Safe Sleep Study. They came and looked at the children after I had put them down for naps. We then took some classes on safe sleep practices. Afterwards they came and observed the kids during naptime again. One thing I found interesting was that having a pacifier was a good thing during naps. Apparently the sucking prevents the baby from falling into that deep deep sleep. I beleive that all providers in Montana are now required to take the Safe Sleep classes.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydaycarelady View Post
This is a terrible story but I think we need to remember that this is only one side of the story. A few things seem odd to me. For example how could the state know that the DCP was "in her bed" when they showed up, wouldn't she have to get up to answer the door? Also they make it sound like kids sleeping on the floor is horrible. I have kids sleep on nap mats on the floor.

But then other things seem strange to me too. I wouldn't be putting a 5mo into a kiddy pool, or laying a baby on the floor to sleep on a folded sleeping bag.
I do know that it's just one side of the story. As to the state finding her "in her bed," those results weren't from the parents. That's how the report would have read. It's not uncommon for dc providers to leave their doors unlocked, so I assume the state would have walked in after not receiving an answer. Also, for the sleeping on the floor. It wouldn't have been a big deal and likely would have been mentioned if the provider was using mats on the floor. We can use mats, but we can't just lay the kids on the floor. Infants are NOT allowed to be on a folded blanket on the floor. Infants are only allowed to be in a pnp or crib. So, the provider was obviously not following the safe sleep regulation.

I agree with others though, and I would not have returned to the daycare after the issues that the parents had seen and dealt with. It's really sad that it takes a death for the parents to do their homework on the provider even when faced with red flags.
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:04 AM
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I got chills reading this. This easily could have been my family. When my youngest was born i had a fcc provider. I came to pick up my dd and she was on her belly on the sofa sleeping. Then one day i got out of work early and she wasnt home (but she "never" left house with dcks). I was very uncomfortable when i came in tje middle of the day and some man was at her house. I was on the waiting list for base daycare and they were able to bump me up when i explained my concerns. I called fri and started mon. She called me screaming that night saying i turned her in but i didnt. I guess the daycare notified the base fcc office and they showed up at her door. Im not sure what happened but i am glad i did what i did for the well being of my dd.

Its easy as a provider to know what parents should be looking for, not as easy for the parent. Many of my newborn parents have no idea what to ask during an interview. Its not that they dont care, many of them just dont know.

My heart goes out to this family.

Last edited by Nickel; 10-23-2012 at 10:07 AM. Reason: clarify
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by JenNJ View Post
So terrible.

Shame on the state for not having open files on providers and daycares. Shame on the provider for doing things the easy way, not the safe way. Shame on the parents for not doing their homework before this tragedy occurred. Shame on them again for not removing their child when they caught the provider doing something so dangerous.

This child was killed at the hands of a lot of adults. It is a needless death that could have been prevented by a lot of adults if they cared.
I agree

I can't even imagine. When my oldest was about 5 months old we put in her in an in home child care. The day I picked up and was told that she had taken my dd in the car for a trip to the grocery store about 45 minutes away (without my prior knowledge or consent) was the last day my child went to that caregiver. There are no second chances when it comes to safety, IMO.

Bottom line, the provider should have known better, but it was obvious to the parent that she did not
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