Drowning of Toddler Juan Cardenas Raises Questions About Supervision At Unlicensed Day Care
Water always poses a danger to young children. Infants and toddlers have not yet had the chance to develop the ability swim (or sometimes even walk) and so even very shallow water can cause harm. Our national child drowning lawyer knows these risks all too well, having represented dozens of families who have lost children in these tragic incidents. More often than not these drowning occur in swimming pools, from large public pools to small backyard plastic pools.
However, pools are not the only dangerous aquatic areas for children. Drownings can occur wherever there is water—even unlikely spaces. For example, the Journal Gazette recently discussed the case of a terrible tragedy that took the life of a toddler in a baptismal pool with only two feet of water. One-year old Juan Cardenas was found in the pool at the Praise Fellowship Assembly of God Church. The boy was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
How did this happen?
It seems that the root of the problem is inadequate supervision by those at the church day care center. Jesse Guerra, the child drowning lawyer at our firm who works on these cases, is very familiar with the issues of lax supervision of children which leads to these tragedies. Drownings are usually the result of either dangerous pool conditions, negligent conduct of individuals, or both. According to information available regarding this latest tragedy, it seems like the main problem in this case was that the day care employees did not provide proper supervision to ensure that young Juan was kept safe.
Unfortunately, information is now coming out which suggests that condition at this day care center were known to be inadequate. For example, state inspectors issued several citations to the day care center last November for poor conditions. During those inspections it was clear that the facility did not place a priority on safety. High-chairs were found without proper safety restraints and food was in the cupboards which were spoiled. Tellingly, another citation targeted the facility’s efforts (or lack of efforts) at ensuring those who cared for the children were able to fill the role. No criminal background checks were administered to staff members—a violation of state policy.
While the citations issues to this negligent home might suggest that state regulators kept a close eye on the day care center—that would be misleading. In fact, state law did not require the home to maintain the same safety standards and other licensed facilities. Lawmakers are now considering proposals to eliminated those double-standards. But those policy deliberations come too late to help young Juan who likely died because those charged with caring for him did not abide by basic standards of care.
The drowning and day care injury lawyers at our firm believe strongly that these sorts of accidents should never be allowed to happen. There is no reason why our young children should be lost in these accidents when supervisors are charged with keeping a close eye on them. It is vital for those who allowed this accident to occur to be held responsible for their conduct so that a message can be sent and future children are spared.
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