The city Board of Health has adopted new requirements for day care centers after a series of News 4 I-Team reports raised questions about the death of a Staten Island boy.
In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the board added rules to the city health code requiring day care workers to check sleeping infants every 15 minutes and to document the baby’s sleeping position and whether the child is in any kind of distress.
Jeanette Davila, whose toddler son, Jeremy, died after being found unresponsive in his crib at the Kiddie Academy of Staten Island in March 2011, was at the meeting Tuesday.
“I’m glad these changes are taking place,” she said.
Records obtained by the I-Team indicate workers at the day care had not checked on Jeremy for nearly three hours after he was put down for a nap. It's not clear when he died.
"If they would have checked on Jeremy, maybe they would find him in distress and call 911 right away," Davila has said to NBC 4 New York.
While the exact cause of Jeremy’s death was not determined, the medical examiner was able to rule out foul play as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Tragedy at a Day Care
But the state investigation of Jeremy’s death, obtained by the I-Team, said one day care worker “was in 'such shock' and was 'too panicked' to administer CPR.”
The board now requires day cares to have an emergency plan and to conduct regular emergency drills with employees.
“I think that’s a major step forward in promoting the safety of children in day care,“ said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
At the hearing Tuesday, several day care owners and workers voiced concerns that the new rules requiring routine checks and additional paperwork would be too burdensome.
In a written statement, Robin Verdino, owner of the day care center where Jeremy Davila died, said, "Kiddie Academy supports any changes that may foster the safety of any children in day care."
The board’s new regulations take effect in 30 days, and the sleep checks will apply to all children under the age of 1.
Records of sleep checks must be kept at least for two weeks.
Jeanette Davila takes some comfort in knowing the changes were inspired by her son.
“Jeremy’s life was short, but he helped me to be his voice and to make sure that other children are safe,” she said.
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