No foul play suspected, but day care temporarily shut down after infant's death

Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

The death of an infant at a central Minnesota home day care prompted state regulators to temporarily shut down the facility.

Last Thursday, the Baxter Police Department responded to a report of an unresponsive 3-month-old at a child care facility run by Kimberly J. Opay and Jerry A. Opay III, the Brainerd Dispatch reports. The infant was taken to the hospital but died despite lifesaving efforts, the paper reports.

According to the Star Tribune, the child's parents said they'd taken the girl, Brooklyn Tramm, to the doctor earlier in the week after the Opays alerted them to cold symptoms and possible breathing difficulties.

License temporarily suspended

No foul play is suspected in the girls' death, but the Minnesota Department of Human Services issued a temporary order of immediate suspension Tuesday (see the document here) – meaning the day care can not be open and operating until the order is reversed.

 The DHS licensing website shows the Baxter day care as being suspended. (Photo: Department of Human Services licensing lookup)

The DHS licensing website shows the Baxter day care as being suspended. (Photo: Department of Human Services licensing lookup)

The order says Crow Wing County Community Services received a report that the day care may have "failed to follow sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) reduction requirements."

Privacy laws prevent the department from including details about what happened, or saying whether the suspension was tied to the 3-month-old's death. But the order says that "due to the serious nature" of the report, county community services "cannot ensure the safety of the persons served" in the program.

Minnesota statutes lay out requirements for reducing the risk of that happening, including:

  • Putting the infant only on its back to sleep, unless directed otherwise by a physician;
  • Having a firm mattress with a fitted sheet;
  • Not placing a swaddled infant down to sleep, unless directed by the parents or guardians (and if the child meets other conditions).

According to Valley News Live, the state says there have been two deaths at licensed Minnesota child care facilities this year.

The owners of the Baxter day care can appeal within five days of receiving the suspension order, but can't operate until it's resolved.

Audit finds issues with MN child care

Earlier this year, a federal audit found that, although the Minnesota Department of Human Services conducted required inspections on these facilities, it didn’t actually make sure providers were complying with state licensing requirements.

The reason? “Because the inspectors were responsible for too many providers, resulting in high caseloads and limiting the amount of time spent on each inspection,” the report said.

Next Up

Related

Day care provider faces manslaughter charges over baby's death

An Eagan woman faces criminal charges, including two counts of manslaughter, over last summer's death of a three-month-old who was in her care. Authorities say the baby was put down for a nap and died of asphyxiation. The provider was licensed to care for 12 children but had 20 in her home at the time.

2 Twin Cities child-care providers where infants died shut down by state

Public records reveal that two child-care centers that failed to follow safe-sleep practices where infants died this year have been shut down by state regulators. A Carver County licensing inspector has also been found at fault for not following through on sanctions in one of the cases, which was discovered just days before an infant's death.