According to ABC news, a toddler was taken off life support yesterday after a necklace choked him to death last Wednesday. Danielle Morin dropped her son Deacon off at the daycare in the morning only to return at 5 p.m. to find paramedics attempting to revive her 18-month-old.
According to the daycare staff, the boy’s teething necklace strangled him during his nap. However, Ms. Morin claimed she believed there is more information that the daycare staff was withholding from her. She says police have been investigating her son Deacon’s death, but haven’t been able to provide answers.
While, as of today, there exist no federal reporting requirements for child fatalities in child care, past studies vaguely indicate the frequency of these fatalities. The most recent study of child fatalities in child care concluded almost ten years ago, but it found 1,362 child fatalities in the 18-year period between 1985 and 2003. These fatalities are tragic and families don’t receive accurate or full information about the circumstances surrounding the incidents. This is because investigative measures are often insufficient and child care programs often don’t communicate freely enough with parents, medical examiners, police, or agencies (local, state, or national).
Legal Rights of Those Injured
If a child fatality results from a child care facility’s negligence, the child care facility can be held liable for the wrongful death of the child. The family of the child would be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages, including medical expenses, emotional distress, and the dollar value of the contribution to the family that the child was expected to provide. In order to find the child care facility liable (for a “negligent undertaking” under CACI no. 450C), a plaintiff must show:
- That the child care facility, voluntarily or for a charge, rendered services for the protection of the child,
- That these services were of a kind that the child care facility should have recognized as needed for the protection of the child,
- That the child care facility failed to exercise reasonable care in rendering these services;
- That the child care facility’s failure to exercise reasonable care was a substantial factor in causing harm to the child, and
- That the child care facility’s failure to use reasonable care added to the risk of harm.
If you or someone you know has lost a child, or your child was seriously injured, due to the negligence of a child care facility or other entity, please contact our office.
A GoFundMe page was created to help pay for Deacon’s medical bills and funeral cost. You can learn how to donate here.