Thursday, June 13

DCF Inspector Failed to Properly Measure Pool Fence, Could Have Prevented Daycare Drowning

Investigations into the death of a three-year-old boy who died from drowning in a daycare pool this past December are still ongoing in West Miami-Dade. This week, police discovered that a state inspector had approved the fencing at the home day care center without ever having actually measured the gate, the fence, or the gaps between the slats in order to make sure children could not slip through.

At the end of last year, parents Mirelys Morales and Yunior Feliciano were shocked to find out from their daycare that their son had fallen into a pool, and had drowned. The daycare had been recommended to them by their son’s nursery school.

Maylind Brache was in charge of the home daycare, and left the children during the day under the care of her mother. The boy was left alone on a patio, and surveillance footage show him playing on the steps leading into the pool, then walking over and jumping in. He is alone for 23 minutes until Brache finally finds him.

Sam Fateru was the daycare’s inspector. He had ordered Brache to installed a lock on the pool’s door, which she did, but no other violations were cited during his visit. Investigators have now determined that Fateru never actually took measurements to ensure the fence was safe. A new report now says that the fence and gate are a foot short of the minimum, and the gate’s gaps are against state code. The medical examiner has determined that the boy was easily able to slip through the bars of the patio door.

“The inspectors are guilty [of his death] because of their lack of preparation and knowledge of the laws,” said Feliciano in an interview with the Miami Herald. The parents want DCF to not only invest in better training for inspectors, but to start prohibiting pools at daycare facilities as well. DCF codes also specify that ladders or steps leading to above ground pools must be removed when not in use — the daycare center’s stairs were fixed in place.

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