ATOKA, OK - Safety at child care facilities is always a top concern for parents, authorities and care takers as well. But an accident at a daycare in Atoka leaves a three-year-old badly hurt and raises some serious questions about safety.
Traydon Goff could have permanent muscle damage and a large scar on his forehead after a shelf fell on top of him while he was at Children's Center in Atoka last Thursday.
"No parent should go through this, and it's not fair that you take your kid somewhere and you get a phone call saying that they need to be medi-flighted,” said Traydon’s mother, Lyndsi Goff.
It happened when Traydon was grabbing onto a shelf that’s at least four feet tall. The shelf fell over on top of him, leaving a large gash on his forehead. Caretakers called 9-1-1 and he was taken to a local hospital and then flown to Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City.
"Whenever they were re-stitching everything back together they said that his expression muscle was severed and so he won't ever be able to make expressions,” said Goff.
Traydon received 40 stitches and will need more plastic surgery in about a year. Goff said doctors tried to repair the nerve damage in his forehead but were unable to.
"I just hope that through all this that no other kids get hurt and that he pulls out of this just fine, because it's not fair to him that he's going to have a scar for the rest of his life,” said Goff.
But she believes the shelf should have never been loose from the wall in the first place because it is a safety hazard to children.
"It shouldn’t take something like this to happen to nail a five foot shelf to a wall,” said Goff.
Atoka Police did conduct an incident report on Friday morning. But now the case is in the hands of Oklahoma DHS.
"And that's probably going to be something looked at, whether there was security in place for that child,” said Atoka Police Officer J.D. Mixson.
The daycare's owner, Glenda Day, said she's never had an accident like this one for the 30 years she's run a daycare. Day is working with DHS and even provided them the surveillance video of the accident.
Children's Center did pass all DHS inspections in the past year and a half, including the most recent inspection on May 26, 2010.
"If the shelf's been loose for years, for 6 years I think, and they passed every inspection and a three year old is able to touch a door and it fall down on them, somebody's not inspecting the right parts,” said Goff.
DHS went to Children’s Center last Friday and said they are still investigating the accident, including looking into whether they missed any compliance issues in the past. As of Tuesday, DHS representatives said it appears to be an accident.
In 2008, Oklahoma passed a law requiring child care facilities that don't have insurance to notify DHS and have parents sign a release form. Children's Center is insured with Arnett Insurance Agency out of Durant and they will be taking care of all medical costs.
DHS also has a database on their website of all licensed child care facilities in the state, with information on past inspections and any non-compliance reports.