Day care shut down after baby's death

A state investigation has revealed that a day care provider gave a painkiller to a “fussy” 5-month-old prior to putting him down for a nap from which he never woke.
Becky Vargo
Oct 11, 2013

 

The investigatory report, released to the Tribune a month after the infant’s death, detailed this and other violations at Jan’s Daycare, a group facility operated by Janet Boyer at 3648 W. Fuller Road in Fruitport Township.

The Michigan Department of Human Services said they sent an investigator to the scene on the afternoon of the child’s death, Sept. 10. After the investigation, the department suspended the day care provider’s license and gave notice of their intent to permanently revoke the license.

“Due to the serious nature of the above violations and the potential risk it represents to vulnerable children in licensee’s care, emergency action is required,” the notice stated.

An account of what happened

The DHS report revealed that one of the caregivers in the home administered a quarter teaspoon of children’s liquid acetaminophen pain reliever (for ages 2-11) at about noon, as the child had been "fussy" since arriving at the day care at 9:15 a.m.

“Licensee later told Licensing Consultant Katherine DeKoning that she did not have written permission from Child A’s parents to administer the medication to Child A,” the report said.

Read the full report: Download the RELATED FILE (PDF) below this story.

The child was put down for a nap at 1:30 p.m. in a portable crib in the upstairs of the house. No one checked on the child from 1:40 until the mother arrived at the day care to pick up her baby boy at 2:45 p.m.

The baby’s mother found her son not breathing and blue in the face when she went to wake him. She attempted CPR, but the boy was pronounced dead later that afternoon at a Muskegon hospital.

The inspector determined that the day care provider could not find the card with the child’s contact information on it.

From 9:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., there were 15 unrelated children younger than 7 years old at the facility, with two day care providers present.

The facility is licensed for up to 12 children. The state requires one caregiver for every four children younger than 30 months.

The investigator said 10 of the children in the home at the time of the incident were younger than 30 months and five of those were younger than 18 months.

The DHS report noted a total of seven violations of day care licensing rules: Appropriate care and supervision, infant supervision and sleeping, two counts of bedding and sleeping equipment, children’s records, two counts of ratio of caregiving staff to children, and medication administrative procedures.

The state agency routinely investigates conditions in licensed providers’ facilities, and is automatically called when a child dies.

Among the many investigations done each year by the state, eight day care facilities in the Muskegon, Grand Haven and Holland have had their licenses suspended or revoked in the past two years. Two of those facilities closed or declined to renew their license.

Police investigation continues

A separate police investigation into the baby’s death is still pending.

Preliminary autopsy results for the 5-month-old boy showed no sign of trauma and nothing suspicious, said Lt. Bruce Morningstar of the Fruitport Township Police Department.

Once police receive the final autopsy results, they will determine whether or not there needs to be further investigation, he said.

When the investigation is complete, the report will be turned over to the Muskegon County Prosecuting Attorney to review for possible charges. Morningstar declined to say what any potential charges could be. He also said he hadn’t yet read the state’s investigatory findings.

Meanwhile, the home where the baby died was empty and quiet Thursday afternoon.

The day care facility is located on the cul de sac of a quiet neighborhood not far from the Fruitport Soccer Club fields.

No one from the day care facility returned requests for comment Thursday, and neighbor Janet Gill said the family has been keeping to themselves since the incident.

“I was walking my dog one day when Jan (Boyer) pulled out of the driveway,” Gill said. “I asked her how she was doing. She said, ‘Not good. It’s too quiet.’”

Gill, who also worked with Boyer’s husband before retiring recently, said the Boyers are “very nice people. They are very good neighbors.”

“She’s an excellent, excellent person,” Gill said. “She spends a lot of time working with the kids.”

 

 

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