SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — San Jose police are investigating to find out how multiple young children fell into a daycare’s pool and two drowned. Both victims were younger than 5 years old, police said.
“This is the type of call that is the worst that a parent could receive,” said Officer Steve Aponte of the San Jose Police Department.
Investigators want to know how children were able to access Happy Happy Daycare’s home backyard pool area before the tragic drownings unfolded Monday morning.
“There is a walkway that leads from the back door, sliding door, into the back area,” Aponte said.
Fleetwood Drive in San Jose’s Almaden neighborhood was bustling with police activity on Monday. Twenty-four hours after the two children died, no one answered the door of the residential home out of which Happy Happy Daycare operates.
The nonprofit Kourtney’s Kause works to prevent drownings. Creative director Catherine Reich said constant supervision is essential with children near any body of water, as well as other precautions.
“There could have been alarms on doors and windows, there could have been an alarm on the water, there’s an alarm that goes off if something disturbs the water,” said Reich.
According to Reich, daycares are supposed to have one adult supervising every six children. She doesn’t understand how half of that ratio could possibly access a pool area without an adult.
“I can’t wrap my head around there being a daycare with a pool. Like, that doesn’t seem safe to me,” Reich said. “That’s my own opinion. I wouldn’t put my kid in a daycare with a pool. It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t seem safe.”
Officer Aponte said no charges have been filed yet, and police were not called to the daycare in the past. The timeline of the drowning is still under investigation.
According to the California Department of Social Services, investigators toured the home in 2020 for a pre-licensing inspection. Changes to the pool area were requested by the department. In 2021, the department returned and cleared the backyard of any threat to children, saying that the pool had been made inaccessible with a fence, and gave the daycare a green light to open. The CDSS facility evaluation report identifies the daycare’s owners as Shahin Shenas and Nina Fathizadeh.
KRON4 reached out to the Santa Clara Department of Social Services to see about any past violations for citations, but have not heard back.