Baby's death at day care appears to be accident

A baby's death at a Keyes home day care appears to have been an accident, according to a Stanislaus County sheriff's spokesman, though the death remains under investigation.

Around 3 p.m. Friday, sheriff's deputies and medical personnel responded to a home in the 5100 block of Monroe Way for a report of a 9-month-old not breathing, said deputy Royjindar Singh.

The day care provider tried to resuscitate the baby, Landen Chabino, Singh said. The unresponsive infant then was taken by ambulance to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, where he was pronounced dead.

From the initial investigation, Singh said, authorities believe Landen may have pulled a book-case down on himself after he was left in a room for a nap with another 9-month-old.

Landen's mother, Jillian Brown, said her son was not yet climbing but might have tried to pull himself up on the bookshelf. She said he learned to crawl two months ago and was just starting to sit on his own and rise to his knees.

When reached by phone Tuesday, Brown was at a tattoo shop with family members getting tattoos dedicated to Landen.

Brown said the day care center owner, Cindy L. Moore, told her that the last time Moore checked on Landen was at noon. Attempts to reach Moore were unsuccessful Tuesday. Her answering machine was full.

Brown said that when she saw her son at the hospital, he had a tennis ball-sized bruise and a golf ball-sized welt with a corner indention on his forehead.

The coroner's office performed an autopsy Tuesday, said Chief Deputy Coroner Kristi Herr. The cause of death is pending while the office waits for toxicology results. This could take three to four weeks, Herr said. A toxi- cology screen is normal after an infant's death.

The state Department of Social Services, which handles licensing for community care facilities, also is investigating Landen's death.

The facility, Aunt Cindy's Day Care, has been licensed since 1999 with no deficiencies, said DSS spokeswoman Shirley Washington. The state has made four routine inspections there since 1999, Washington said. The center is licensed to serve as many as 14 children.

Brown has said negligence caused her son's death, asking why the bookshelf in his room wasn't bolted down, why there was no infant monitor and why her son was sleeping on the floor.

Washington said none of those precautions is required for licensing as long as the child's safety is ensured.

DSS investigators, Washington said, could suggest actions such as civil penalties, a plan of correction, revocation of license or the center's closure, though it's too early to say whether any of these actions would be recommended.

Statistics about similar deaths at home child care centers were not available Tuesday from DSS.

Although the state does not require baby monitors, Brown said she thinks this simple precaution could have saved her son's life. She wonders why he was left alone for so long.

"I gave him a bath every day. I combed his hair every day," she said. "I want the routine back."

Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at eraguso@modbee.com or 578-2235.