Report on Connecticut child deaths urges better access to day care

HARTFORD – Between the last two years, there was an uptick of infant deaths at licensed and illegal home daycares.

The Office of the Child Advocate looked into this with hopes to prevent this tragic trend and FOX 61 has learned more about what is inside the lengthy report.

The report stated from 2016 to 2017, nine children died. Six of those children died at illegal home daycares. The State Commissioner is setting new regulations now to prevent these deaths from happening.

“Being a mother – holding your child for the first time is one of the most magical moments that you can ever have so to even think that (crying) parents are losing their children ,” said Nicole Jones of Manchester.

Jones is a mother of three and her youngest is a toddler. She said she has been forced to make a tough decision – picking a home daycare or a public facility.

“I mean, if I went to somewhere that was a facility, I’d be using almost my whole paycheck,” added Jones.

The 35-page report has linked infant deaths to low-income families who have chosen illegal home daycares because of cost. It stated infants and toddlers have died for various reasons such as: suffocation from improper sleeping environment, overdoses or falling down stairs.

“It’s devastating. It’s just like why isn’t this being taken care of? What are we doing wrong that this keeps happening? A lot of it has to do with money!” added Jones.

Faith Vos Winkle with the Office of Child Advocate said parents should follow these preventative measures:

  • Conduct a background check to ensure there is no history of abuse
  • First-aid certified – they are ready to do CPR if a child were to choke
  • Home environment – many think wrapping a child with blankets is comfortable but in reality, it increases the risk of suffocation
  • Vaccinated pets – if they have cats or dogs, make sure they have all their shots and have been trained

“What we want to do is make it affordable. We want to make high quality daycare affordable for all families. Infant care in particular is more expensive because the ratio to an adult and an infant in a home is going to be higher than a toddler,” said Vos Winkle.

Since cost has shown to be a big part in choosing quality child care, there is now state funding available for parents who are interested in choosing more prestige  facilities.

The Office of the Child Advocate is urging parents to do the research, ask as many questions as possible and to check out the daycares in person to ensure it fits your child’s needs.

Read the report here.