On Thursday, September 8, 2016, a 23-month old child died while being cared for at the West Jordan Child Center. According to KSL News, video footage shows the child crawling under a large bean bag. A short time later, a staff person apparently sat on the bean bag and remained there for at least 10-15 minutes before the boy was discovered. When they found him, he was unconscious and not breathing. Continued treatment at Primary Children’s Hospital proved fruitless and he was pronounced dead that evening. West Jordan Police have called this a tragic accident.
I send my condolences to the family for their tragic loss.
The article in KSL says that the parents have questions following this event. They wonder how this happened and how an adult would not know something or someone was under the bean bag. Why they would not have heard anything. In response, the day care’s attorney issued a statement expressing condolences, but providing no answers.
From my perspective, there are a number of questions that need to be answered, such as whether it was appropriate to have a large bean bag in an area where small children played that they foreseeably could crawl under; whether staff were properly tracking the children in their care; whether the staff person should have made certain that no small children were under a lumpy, large bean bag before sitting down on it. According to Utah’s Department of Health child-care licensing program, the Center has received a violation in the past five years for children being left unattended. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/09/13/toddler-suffocated-under-bean-bag-chair-as-day-care-employee-sat-on-it-reading-to-other-children-police-say/. A violation like this is notice to the Center that there are or have been deficiencies in supervision that need to be addressed. Certainly this incident raises the question of whether they have adequately responded to those deficiencies.
I would advise the family to seek the services of a West Jordan wrongful death attorney to continue the investigation as to how this event was allowed to happen.