WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita couple whose son died at a home day care plans to lobby state lawmakers to toughen regulations for child care providers, including requiring all licensed child care providers to carry liability insurance.
Brock and Christina Mosier won a $950,000 judgment last month against day care provider Karin Patterson after the death in 2011 of their 5-month-old son, Bryce, at Patterson’s home day care. A coroner ruled the child died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome but the Mosiers sued, saying Patterson could have prevented their son’s death by following safe-sleeping practices.
The Mosiers’ attorney, Blake Shuart, said the judgment is only symbolic because Patterson did not have insurance covering her day care operation, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1msnlaq ). The Mosiers agreed to not try to collect any of the money.
The couple also plans to lobby lawmakers to make child care providers’ information, such as background, inspection reports and disciplinary actions, available online.
“It’s too late for Bryce. This isn’t going to bring him back,” Brock Mosier said Monday. “But we’re really hoping this can be the stepping stone for something bigger . that will protect other kids and other families.”
After their son’s death, the Mosiers’ alleged Patterson should have placed the boy on his back to sleep and checked on him regularly during his nap. According to the consent judgment, “the Mosiers’ allegations are accepted as true.”
Patterson, who had operated Karin’s Kids in north Wichita, no longer holds a child care license or operates a home day care, Shuart said.
Shuart said current regulations don’t allow parents to easily access the entire database of providers and they can’t get certain background information without filing a Kansas Open Records request and paying for documents.
After Bryce’s death, Mosier said he waited two months and paid nearly $100 for documents about Patterson, including inspection reports from an investigation in 2003 after a complaint that Patterson left a sleeping child unattended in a car on a 100-degree day while she went to a garage sale. A state inspector noted in 2003 that several violations were found at Patterson’s day care, and wrote “Recommend enforcement action before these children are more neglected!”
“We’re hoping to make it a lot easier to access that stuff,” Mosier said Monday. “If you’re looking for day care, you want to know that.”
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com