Swimming poolSAN JOSE, California - The recent incident involving the tragic deaths of two toddlers at Happy Happy Daycare in San Jose, California, is a sobering reminder of the critical importance of stringent safety measures and vigilant supervision in daycare settings. As attorneys focusing on daycare injury cases at The Button Law Firm, we are deeply troubled by the negligence that led to this heartbreaking and tragic outcome.

The charges against Nina Fathizadeh and Shahin Gheblehshenas for felony child endangerment highlight the severity of the lapses in their duty of care. The victims, Payton Cobb and Lillian Hanan, both just one year old, drowned after wandering into the daycare’s backyard pool. This scenario would never have been possible if proper safety protocols had been in place and followed.

A Preventable Daycare Tragedy in California

The facts of this case paint a distressing picture of neglect and oversight. An article from KRON San Francisco details that on October 2, 2023, the three young children were playing unsupervised in the backyard patio area when they managed to pass through an unsecured pool gate. The gate had been left propped open, an egregious violation of basic safety standards. In any daycare setting, ensuring that all access points to potentially hazardous areas like pools are secured is essential. This awful incident was entirely preventable. 

Inadequate Supervision and Staffing – What Led to This Tragic Daycare Incident

At the time of the incident, Fathizadeh was the sole caregiver present, and her mother and co-owner, Gheblehshenas, was working at a different, unlicensed daycare location. Furthermore, Fathizadeh was busy preparing breakfast inside the house, leaving the children out of her sight. This lack of supervision was a direct contributor to the tragedy. Daycare providers have a fundamental responsibility to maintain constant visual and auditory supervision of all children in their care, particularly those as young as these victims.

The staffing situation at Happy Happy Daycare was also critically flawed. With one employee out sick, Fathizadeh was left alone to care for multiple young children. Proper staffing ratios are not just a regulatory requirement; they are essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of children. In this case, inadequate staffing compounded the risk, resulting in an unsupervised and dangerous environment.

A Daycare’s Failure to Follow Safety Protocols

The daycare’s failure to secure the pool gate, despite its previous history of being left open, is a glaring example of negligence. Regular checks and strict adherence to safety protocols are essential in environments where children are present. The presence of gardening equipment and other hazards in the backyard further highlights the lack of diligence in maintaining a safe play area.

Legal and Moral Responsibilities – The Button Law Firm Advocates for Safety Protocols

Daycare operators have a significant responsibility to provide a safe environment for children. This includes adhering to state licensing requirements and implementing and following robust safety protocols. The District Attorney’s comments about the need to "watch over little children in your care like a hawk" resonate deeply with the standards we advocate for at The Button Law Firm. In this case, the failure to do so has led to an unthinkable tragedy that has forever altered the lives of the families involved.

Seeking Justice and Ensuring Accountability

As this case progresses, justice must be served for the victims and their families. The legal proceedings will hopefully bring some accountability to Fathizadeh and Gheblehshenas for their roles in this preventable disaster. Beyond the courtroom, this incident should serve as a wake-up call for all daycare providers about the critical importance of safety and supervision.

Our hearts go out to the families affected by this unimaginable tragedy. We are deeply committed to advocating for the highest standards of care in daycare settings to ensure the safety and well-being of every child. This heartbreaking incident serves as a poignant reminder of the vital importance of constant vigilance, strict adherence to safety protocols, and sufficient staffing in protecting our most precious and vulnerable population—children. We stand with the grieving families and pledge to support them through this difficult time while working tirelessly to prevent such devastating incidents from ever happening again.

Contacting The Button Law Firm After a Catastrophic Injury or Death at Daycare

If your child was catastrophically injured or was the victim of wrongful death due to daycare negligence or abuse, you may have options for getting justice. Contact our experienced daycare injury and wrongful death attorneys to get answers to your questions. You can contact a team member by calling (214)699-4409 or tell us your story in the contact form. You can also reach out to our team by starting a chat.

Russell Button
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Dallas, Houston, and Midland Texas trial and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.
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