Girl, 2, drowns in pool at day care in Parkville

State suspends license of woman who operated facility in her home


News from around the Baltimore region

August 16, 2005|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A 2-year-old girl drowned yesterday morning in a pool at a home day care facility in Parkville, prompting state officials to suspend the license of the day care provider, authorities said.

Tashear Alston of Curtis Bay was discovered floating in the pool about 9 a.m. by her day care provider in the 8600 block of Oakleigh Road, said Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a county police spokeswoman. The girl was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, Warehime said.

The girl, who would have turned 3 next month, apparently followed another child who opened the gate to the fenced area around the pool to let out a cat, Warehime said.

When the day care provider realized that Tashear was no longer playing in the backyard and that the gate to the pool was open, the child was already floating face down in the water, Warehime said.

The woman caring for the girl, identified as Lazette Fields, called 911 and began attempting CPR, Warehime said. Fields was caring for two other children at the time of the drowning, Warehime said.

A woman who answered the door at Fields' rowhouse said the family did not want to talk about the incident.

Fields' day care license was suspended yesterday under emergency procedures, said Bill Reinhard, a spokesman for Maryland's Department of Education, which oversees day care centers and home-based day care operations.

Fields has 45 days to appeal the suspension.

She has been licensed since 1997 to provide care for up to eight children, from ages 2 to 12, in her home, Reinhard said. Her day care operation passed an inspection within the past year, he said. She has no history of violations or complaints against her, according to Reinhard.

According to guidelines of the Education Department's Child Care Administration, pools should be surrounded by walls or fences at least 4 feet high. They should also have a self-closing gate and latch that is inaccessible to young children, Reinhard said.

The administration's investigation of the drowning continues, Reinhard said.

Homicide detectives are also investigating the girl's death as a matter of policy, Warehime said. They investigate all sudden deaths of children.

Attempts to reach the girl's family yesterday were unsuccessful.

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