Tragic Toddler Drownings Lead to Arrests of California Daycare Owners

In a heart-wrenching incident that has sent shockwaves through California, two toddlers tragically drowned earlier this month at a residential daycare in San Jose. The daycare owners, Nina Fathizadeh and her mother Shahin Gheblehshenas, were arrested and charged with felony child endangerment resulting in death and criminal negligence.

The Unfathomable Tragedy

Nina Fathizadeh, 41, and Shahin Gheblehshenas, 64, ran “Happy Happy Daycare” in San Jose, a place where parents entrusted the safety and well-being of their precious little ones. However, on the morning of October 2, this trust was shattered when an unimaginable tragedy unfolded.

The police responded to a wellness check after Fathizadeh called 911 to report a drowning at the daycare’s licensed home on Fleetwood Avenue. At that time, four children were at the home, with another expected to be dropped off soon. Due to a daycare worker’s absence, all the children were under the supervision of a single person, as Gheblehshenas had gone to another daycare.

Negligence Leads to Unthinkable Loss

According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, during that fateful morning, Nina Fathizadeh was preparing breakfast when she left one child in a crib. Regrettably, she allowed three children into the rear patio play area unsupervised and out of sight.

While the play area was situated in the backyard, adjacent to a pool enclosed by a five-foot fence, investigators discovered that the gate to the pool had been propped open for plant watering, enabling the toddlers to access the pool area.

It wasn’t until Fathizadeh went into the yard, at least five minutes later, that she discovered one of the children floating in the pool. In a desperate attempt, she began CPR, but her brother alerted to the emergency, found two more children floating unconscious in the pool.

The consequences were devastating. Two toddler girls, aged 16 and 18 months, lost their lives in this heartbreaking accident. Another 2-year-old child, who was critically injured in the incident, is fortunately expected to make a full recovery.

A Grief That Could Have Been Prevented

The tragedy has prompted public outrage and calls for accountability. District Attorney Jeff Rosen emphasized the responsibility of childcare providers, stating, “There is a responsibility to watch over little children in your care like a hawk.” He further added, “Now it is our responsibility to make sure that these defendants are held accountable for this avoidable and heartbreaking tragedy.”

State officials have suspended the daycare’s license following the incident. The suspects turned themselves in to the police on October 13 and are scheduled to be arraigned on December 6.

This heart-wrenching incident serves as a poignant reminder of the critical importance of vigilant supervision and adherence to safety measures, especially when caring for vulnerable children. It underscores the devastating consequences that can arise from even a momentary lapse in attention when precious lives are at stake.

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