North Carolina 10-Month-Old Dies in Daycare After Choking on Pinecone

May 30, 2019 Updated: May 30, 2019

North Carolina police are investigating the death of a 10-month-old baby who allegedly choked to death on a pinecone at a daycare facility, WTVD reported.

Authorities cited in the report said the infant’s death occurred shortly before 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29, at the A Hug A Day Daycare. The facility is run out of a home in the city of Raleigh.

Helena Harris told WRAL she had dropped her grandson, Areon Ellington, off at the daycare in the morning. She said she got a call from staff several hours later asking her to come urgently because “Areon was choking on something.”

A family member reportedly told ABC11 on Facebook, “This baby had a piece of pine cone in his mouth and it blocked his air passage.”

The daycare has been the subject of citations in the past for violations that include hazardous items found on the property, according to the Division of Child Development and Early Education.

Harris told WRAL she is utterly grief-stricken.

“He was my heart, my heart … he was our get up and go,” she told the news outlet. “He was, through our struggles, what was bonding us together.”

WTVD reported the baby’s death was ruled an accident.

Community Reactions

WTVD’s post on Facebook sparked numerous comments.

Jackie Aguilar wrote: “How is this accidental if it was a 10 month old baby who needs supervision at all times?? Maybe accidental for toddlers who are sneaky and can do many things in one second. Prayers for the family.”

Jerri Mooring wrote: “This is why my grand babies don’t do day care. No one will take care of them like me or the other grandparents. That’s why I chose to leave my job so I could stay home and keep them.”

Jan Meares Little wrote: “I got lucky with my 2 and had neighbors that watched them. I tried a daycare in Knightdale, kindercare and couldn’t figure out why my daughter wouldn’t go to bed at night. I found out they were keeping the kids asleep all afternoon so they wouldn’t have to watch them. I pulled my daughter out very fast after I went to pick her up one day and they were still napping at 4:00. I had taken cupcakes for her birthday and pulled her out the next day! Even with good references you just never know.”

WRAL reported that charges have not been filed in the case.

Boy, 9, Killed by Falling Locker in Essex High School

In another tragic case case, a 9-year-old boy died in a school in Britain after a locker fell over and pinned him.

The Mirror reported the child was at an after-school club at a local high school when tragedy struck.

A spokesperson for Essex Police was cited by The Mirror as saying: “We were called by the ambulance service at about 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, to reports a child had been injured at Great Baddow High School in Duffield Road, Chelmsford.

“The nine-year-old boy was believed to have fallen from a locker and become trapped underneath it.”

The spokesperson said the child was not a student at the school. The Mirror reported the boy was there with his family attending a swimming club.

Great baddow high school
Aerial view of Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford, UK. (Google Maps)

About 1,400 students are on the school roll.

A safety report (pdf) issued by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) for 2017 gave the school a rating of “good.”

“Safeguarding is effective,” wrote Inspector John Daniell. “Safeguarding children is at the heart of what the school stands for. All staff have received and read the latest guidance, ‘Keeping children safe in education’ (2016), and demonstrated a strong awareness of safeguarding issues. All staff have also undergone training in the government’s ‘Prevent’ duty. Staff, including those who join the school mid-year, receive up-to-date training on safeguarding matters. The school’s record of recruitment checks of the suitability of staff is compliant.

“A relatively large team of staff have key responsibilities for safeguarding but each knows their precise role and there is no confusion. Pupils who attend alternative provision are monitored rigorously and systems are in place to ensure their safety.”

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