Day care closed after toddler death

June 3, 2008 7:57:56 PM PDT
The state shut down a San Jose day care center where a toddler died last month. The center is one of thousands operated across the state in private homes.

A 2-year-old boy died at an Alum Rock home in San Jose last month. The state has temporarily suspended the license of day care provider Bertha Taylor after the cord on the toddler's hooded sweatshirt got caught while he was playing on a slide, and strangled him.

Taylor was licensed in 1990 to care for up to 14 children.

"The facility was closed due to inadequate staffing care and supervision issues," said Shirley Washington.

The state had cited Taylor twice before for not having enough people to watch the children; once in March of 2007 and again in April of this year.

On Tuesday, no one answered the door at the home. A neighbor says the death was a tragic accident.

"I think it's not their fault. I think it was one of those freak accidents honestly," said neighbor John Gular.

The state requires one staff member for every eight children. That's the ratio at the child development center serving mostly San Jose State students.

Directors say they also urge parents to remove cords from clothing.

"Most children don't like to have that string tied under their chin anyway, so it really serves no purpose and it is a danger," said Pre School Program Coordinator Teresa Stuefloten.

There are more than 38,000 home day care centers in California allowed to have up to 14 children each, and nearly 300 homes that are licensed to care for up to six children each.

The Department of Social Services Web site offers information about large centers but not home care centers because they're also private residences.

The state inspects every licensed care facility at least once every five years or anytime a complaint is filed.

Taylor has 15 days to appeal the state action or the license is permanently revoked.


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