In a heart-wrenching incident that unfolded on a sunny Monday morning, two precious 1-year-old girls tragically lost their lives in a swimming pool accident at the Happy Happy Home Daycare in the serene neighborhood of San Jose, California. The community is reeling from the shock, as the authorities and parents grapple with the devastating reality of young lives cut short.
On the fateful morning of October 5, 2023, the tranquil setting of the daycare was shattered by the frantic calls for help. It was shortly after 9 a.m. when emergency services were urgently summoned to the daycare center located in San Jose’s Almaden area. The distressing reason behind the call was that three young children had accidentally fallen into the daycare’s swimming pool. First responders arrived swiftly, but the scene they encountered was one of profound distress.
Among the three children, two little girls were found in critical condition. The heroic efforts of paramedics and medical professionals were put to the test as they rushed all three children to the hospital. However, despite their tireless efforts, the two young angels couldn’t be saved. The third child, although injured, is expected to recover from minor injuries.
In a chilling revelation, state records show that the daycare had previously raised concerns. It had been flagged six times by state officials since its licensing back in 2021. During initial inspections, red flags were raised about the potential risks of children accessing the pool area. The ongoing investigation, which is being led by the dedicated team of the San Jose Police Department’s homicide unit, is expected to continue for several months.
Records from the California Department of Social Services shed light on the past concerns. During inspections conducted in 2020 and 2021, inadequacies in the pool’s fencing had been brought to attention. Despite these concerns, a license was granted in January 2021, following corrective measures that were taken. A recent assessment in January confirmed that the pool area was surrounded by a fence made of durable mesh material. The report stated that the fence was at least five feet tall, ensuring the safety of children while not obstructing the view of the pool.
Tragically, drowning remains the leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 4, with swimming pools being the most common site for such accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The circumstances leading to the children’s access to the pool are still unclear, leaving investigators with critical questions. Steven Aponte of the San Jose Police Department remarked, “The specifics of how and when they got to the pool are still under investigation.”
As the investigation unfolds, details regarding the daycare owners, Nina Fathizadeh and Shanin Shenas, as well as whether they have been detained, have not been disclosed by Aponte. The decision on any potential charges against the daycare staff is pending as the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office reviews the case. Fathizadeh and Shenas, who had applied for a state license for their daycare in 2020, have yet to respond to media inquiries for comments.
It’s worth noting that the daycare facility, which is licensed for eight children with a limit of four infants, had received five citations during a January inspection. One citation raised concerns about exceeding the infant limit, as they had five infants at the time. Additionally, the inspection noted other issues such as missing disaster drills, inadequate monitoring of sleeping infants, and a failure to check the criminal record of an assistant.
In conclusion, Steven Aponte emphasized the vital importance of parents nationwide remaining vigilant and thoroughly vetting daycare facilities for their children’s safety. The tragic incident at Happy Happy Home Daycare serves as a grim reminder of the paramount importance of ensuring that our little ones are in secure and responsible care, particularly when it comes to environments that involve water.