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When Your Baby Dies in a Home Daycare, Who's to Blame?

When Kathryn Martin first placed her three-month-old daughter, Kellie Rynn, in a home daycare center, she thought she had no reason to fear. A month later, Kellie Rynn suffocated in her sleep.

by Cecilia D’Anastasio
Feb 6 2017, 4:36pm

Kellie Rynn Martin was three months old when she suffocated at a home daycare center in Greenville County, South Carolina, in 2014. An EMT arrived a swift two minutes after her caretaker called 911, but it was too late for Kellie Rynn, who had already suffered from fatal anoxic brain damage. On her coroner's report, her manner of death is listed as "suffocation by bedding," an "accident." There were marks on her body where her naptime blankets would have been.

Kellie Rynn's mother, Kathryn Martin, had suffered a miscarriage a year before giving birth to Kellie. "Right when she was being born," Martin recalled, "I thought the worst was over:  She's here. She's healthy. You don't think about how children are still vulnerable to other people."

Like countless other infants, Kellie Rynn died because her daycare facility neglected to follow basic safety protocols for minding babies. The day Kellie Rynn suffocated, 22 other children were being looked after by her daycare provider—over a dozen more than the legal limit for South Carolina. Martin suspects that Kellie Rynn was placed in a basinet with another infant or too many blankets and left unwatched, well-known mistakes that can lead to suffocation.

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