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Daycare where child died loses license

June 17, 2011
Kylie Saari - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - A daycare provider in Northrop has lost her license to operate following an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The probe was triggered in September after an infant died while being cared for at the home-based center.

Cindi Tomlinson's license was suspended immediately following the event, but wasn't revoked until the investigation was complete.

It was concluded she was responsible for neglect, although not for the death of the child. The infant was found to have died from an undiagnosed illness.

According to the state report:

Violations on the premises included a failure to operate within capacity and distribution limits; a failure to provide adequate supervision; failure to follow Sudden Infant Death Syndrome protocol; and failure to be prepared for emergencies.

Tomlinson told officers on the day of the infant's death that the child had been put down for a nap in a car seat. When the child woke, she was fed and played with before being put down for another nap on her back in an upstairs bedroom and covered with a blanket.

When the child was checked on later, she was found not to be breathing and wedged against the side of a crib with the blanket around her face.

CPR was initiated, but 911 was not called for what is estimated by Human Services to be 35 to 55 minutes, after two other people were called.

Paul Tomlinson, Cindi's husband, said the length of time between finding the infant and calling 911 was much shorter.

"It was maybe five minutes," he said, adding that his wife called him and their pastor while doing CPR. The pastor called 911.

Placing the child in the car seat for a nap and later covering her with a blanket during a nap did violate the SIDS protocol.

The Tomlinsons did not appeal the state findings because Cindi had chosen not to continue providing child care.

"This was so heart-wrenching," Paul Tomlinson said. "Cindi loved those kids as much as any parent loves a child they take care of."

The family of the child who died is upset by the state's findings.

"We're still in shock," Alisa Eytcheson wrote Thursday in an email to the Sentinel. "We were told by the county attorney that severe neglect of our infant isn't a crime. We are surprised no criminal proceedings have happened yet from this investigation."

County Attorney Terry Viesselman on Thursday denied telling Eytchenson severe neglect isn't a crime. He said no criminal charges have been filed because the baby's death was found to have been caused by acute broncopneumonia. Infants with the condition often show no signs of illness.

"The autopsy revealed the child had a medical condition," Viesselman said. "The provider could not have saved the child."

The most recent state findings were not the first time Tomlinson was given notice her operation was not in order.

In October 2007, she was under order to correct violations, including caring for too many children, being over her licensed capacity by one child in the infant age range. She also was cited for providing false information regarding the number of children she had under her care, failure to follow SIDS protocol and failure to maintain documentation and complete monthly crib inspections.

In December 2006, she was issued a conditional license as a result of letting six children play unsupervised at a park near her home.



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