makes key recommendations in aftermath of Jérèmie
The circumstances surrounding the 2010 drowning
death of Jérèmie Audette were
the focus of a coroner's inquest which wrapped
up on Tuesday. File photo
for bouts of reflux and a susceptibility to getting ear
infections, Jérèmie Audette was just like
any another highly-mobile, naturally-curious two-year-old.
in his case, those characteristics that come naturally
and instinctively to 99.9 per cent of toddlers in the
world, helped lead to his drowning through a series of
unfortunate, and largely preventable events.
truth of the matter is that Jérèmie died
as a result of human error. His babysitter failed to provide
him and the other kids in her care with "adequate"
in this case would have been keeping an eye on him while
she changed the other kids into their bathing suits. "Adequate"
supervision would have also included posting an adult,
either at the bottom of the stairs leading to the above
ground pool, on the deck itself.
both cases Jérèmie would be alive today
if they had of been carried out.
to anybody about the circumstances surrounding Jérèmie's
death and inevitably the question is rased as to why his
caregiver Cynthia McLellan and the owner of the home-based
care where it happened weren't charged with criminal negligence.
answer is simply, allowing one's self to be distracted,
or a failure to provide "adequate" supervision,
does not legally constitute negligence. The law states
that in order to be charged with criminal negligence the
accused must have demonstrated, "a wanton and reckless
disregard for the lives or safety of others".
definition of the word "wanton" in this regard
is deliberate and unprovoked.
while it could be argued the caregivers may have been
reckless in failing to provide inadequate supervision,
their actions were by no means "deliberate".
Therefore they were not "criminally" negligent.
five-member inquest jury made three key recommendations
on Thursday. The first one is painfully obvious, while
the other two are both impractical and nearly impossible
first recommendation is to ban pools at private daycares.
If you ask me that's a no brainer. In fact, I can't believe
they haven't been banned already.
Wendy Lapierre didn't have a pool in her backyard, Jérèmie
would be alive today.
second recommendation is to make pool fencing with self-latching
gates mandatory for every private pool in the province.
But while this may be great news for fence installers,
it places a ridiculous financial burden on pool owners
who should already know that if they have small children
or planning to have children they should erect a fence
around their pool. That's called common sense. You can't
legislate common sense or criminalize a lack of it.
third recommendation is for the province to create a registry
of unlicensed home-based daycares and allow for unscheduled
visits by Ministry inspectors. Now, while this may seem
like another no-brainer, It's almost impossible tp enforce.
Right now anyone can take care of children and get paid
to do it. It's called free enterprise.
one recommendation the jury didn't make, but which is
also painfully obvious, is for parents to do their research
in finding a caregiver for their children. They should
take the time to follow up with references and physically
visit the house to make sure it is safe for young children.
is accidents can happen at any time and they can sometimes
lead to tragedy.
cause of Jérèmie's death, and dozens of
similar drowning involving young children, was the swimming
pool. Get rid of swimming pools at home-based day cares
and you won't have to worry about any kids accidentally
drowning in them.
it took the death of a two-year-old boy to enact and implement
a regulation that should have been enacted and implemented
forward, the Ministry should hire a network of inspectors
to find unlicensed home-based daycares and conduct safety
audits of each and every one of them. If the owners do
not bring them up to standard within a given period of
time they should be shut down immediately with the threat
of heavy fines should they try to conduct business without
fixing the problems.
along with parents empowering themselves with the proper
knowledge before deciding where to send their children,
should be Jérèmie's legacy. May he rest
9:30 a.m., Dec. 7)
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