Fatal Day Care Accident Has Parents Concerned for Children's Safety
Toddler Faith Phillips died Sunday at Providence Hospital
ANCHORAGE – A toddler died Sunday after getting strangled in playground equipment at Illumination Child Care Center in Wasilla. Parents are calling it their “worst nightmare.”
19-month-old Faith Phillips died after doctors at Providence Hospital declared her brain dead.
According to authorities, the girl got her head stuck in playground equipment and was accidentally strangled.
She was taken to Providence, where Phillips died yesterday.
The state has suspended the license of that day care while a full investigation takes place.
The sound of children playing and laughing are the usual sounds coming from day care centers, but after the fatality in Wasilla, parents are asking how safe their day care centers are.
“It it’s less than three feet off the ground, you don’t need safety surfacing, other than soft grass, underneath them,” said MaryEllen Fritz, of Vineyard Early Learning Center.
Openings that are too small for a child’s head pass state tests, but older models don’t. “We have such young children,” said Fritz. “Also, on the rope edge, that could be a place where children put their head through and then fall through and then get trapped.”
Both state and city childcare licensing agencies conduct inspections. And playground equipment is on the list to be checked out for every inspection. “Not broken, it has to be in good repair,” said Laura Burrell, of Anchorage Child Care Licensing. “A standard reply is remove, repair, replace.”
And remember: Parents have a role to play, as well.
In Anchorage, parents can go to the office of Child Care Licensing at 25th and L Street to read those inspection reports.
The same reports will be available online in October.