Tuesday 25 October 2016

Toddler dies after being suffocated when adult sat on bean bag he'd been hiding under

Published 15/09/2016 | 07:23

Leonardo Sanchez was about to turn two
Leonardo Sanchez was about to turn two

A toddler has died of suffocation apparently after an adult sat on a bean bag he had crawled under to hide while playing with other children.

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On Thursday, Leo Sanchez, who would have turned two on September 17, died after becoming trapped under a large bean bag an adult sat to read a story at a child centre in Utah, his mother said.

Leonardo Sanchez
Leonardo Sanchez

"I'm supposed to be planning his birthday party for next week and now I'm planning his funeral," his mother Danielle told NBC News on Friday.

Ms Sanchez said that police was reviewing surveillance footage of the incident showing Leo climbing under the bag, where he was for five to 15 minutes before employees realised he was underneath, KUTV reports.

"That's all I know right now, is my baby suffocated under a bean bag," Ms Sanchez said in tears adding that the Leo was playing with other children when he crawled under the bean bag.

"How could this happen?" Ms Sanchez said. "He's a big boy. How did they lose track of him? Too many kids, too much noise, overwhelmed, a bad day ... Somebody dropped the ball and now we're going to have to bury a boy because of that."

Parents of little Leo Sanchez
Parents of little Leo Sanchez

"I was given different stories. Finally the police officers came and they previewed the film," she said. "I'm just confused. I'm so confused on how you don't know where my kid is. How do you not feel him? How do you not hear him scream?"

West Jordan police sergeant Joe Monson called Leo's death a "very tragic, sad accident" and confirmed that investigators believe an adult sat on a large bean bag, unaware that the toddler was underneath. He said that the investigation is continuing.

Leonardo Sanchez was about to turn two
Leonardo Sanchez was about to turn two

"No words adequately describe the depth of the sorrow we feel," Utah's West Jordan child centre said in a statement released through an attorney. "And, of course, we do not pretend to understand how devastating this is for the family. We know the family well, we grieve with them, and we pray that God will provide them the comfort and peace they inevitably will need.”

"I dropped him off at daycare not realising I would never be able to hold him again," Ms Sanchez told KUTV, "or kiss him or have my Leo back."

Leo's father Dan Sanchez, told KUTV that something needs to change at the daycare and that other parents and caregivers should be aware that something like this could happen. "Be aware," he said. "Have knowledge and some accountability."

The Department of Health is also investigating circumstances around the toddler's death and whether the care facility is operating under the proper licence said department spokesperson Tom Hudachko.

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