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DCF investigating Lehigh home daycare after toddler drowns

Jun. 25, 2013


The Department of Children and Families is conducting an investigation into a Lehigh Acres daycare after a toddler drowned there Monday.

Christian Byrd, 2, fell into a kiddie pool in the backyard of the home that houses Smith Family Day Care. A neighbor performed CPR on the boy until medics arrived. Christian later died at Lehigh Regional Medical Center.

Records show that Smith Family Day Care, owned by Melissa Smith, 42, renewed its registration with the state June 12 and has been in operation since 2009, according to DCF Spokesman Terry Field.

Field said the home is not licensed as a daycare facility and only has to register with DCF as a daycare. Ten children are allowed to be under the care of Smith at any given time, per DCF regulations.

The daycare remains closed. DCF’s investigation could take up to 60 days.
DCF’s Family Day Care Standards state that if a pool is one-foot above the ground, it must have a fence, barrier, or alarm.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has not released any more details in the boy's death, and it is unclear if he was attending the daycare or if he was under adult supervision when he died.

An autopsy will be performed to confirm the exact cause of death.

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