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Parents sue day care over infant’s death

Lawsuit says 10-month-old was found not breathing after being put down for a nap.

Vincent Clark III, 10 months old, was not breathing after being put down for a nap at a Lansing day care.
Vincent Clark III, 10 months, was found not breathing after being put down for a nap at a Lansing day care, according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
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The parents of a 10-month-old baby boy found unresponsive in the basement of a Lansing home day care in April — and later died — are suing the owners of the facility, a place the parents’ lawyer Tuesday called a “ticking time bomb.”

“This horrific tragedy was completely preventable,” Heidi L. Wickstrom, the parents’ lawyer, told reporters during a news conference.

Vincent Clark III was put down for a nap in the basement of Learn n Play All Day Home Childcare on April 9, and left unattended for about two hours in a play pen, according to the suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

“He was alone in a play pen in the basement of this daycare, while everyone else was outside,” Wickstrom said. “An infant should never, ever be left completely alone and should never be left without monitoring ... .”

When staff came to check on him, he was “unresponsive and not breathing,” the lawsuit states.

The baby died the next day at Comer Children’s Hospital.

“In the early hours of April 10, 2019, (Vincent) passed away in his parents’ arms,” Wickstrom said.

Calls to the daycare Tuesday were not returned.

Officials with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said the agency’s hotline was called and notified about Vincent’s death the day he died.

“The department has pending investigations into allegations of neglect related to the incident. DCFS licensing has put a protective plan in place with the provider while the investigation is ongoing. Under the plan, they can no longer provide daycare services,” DCFS said in an emailed statement.

The child had no previously known health issues, said parents Vincent Clark II and Ebony Clark, who sat with their lawyer Tuesday.

Vincent had been going to the daycare since January of this year — three times a week, his family said.

“He was in general a very happy baby . . . always brought joy to other people,” the father told reporters.

Vincent Clark II and Ebony Clark talk to reporters May 28, 2019, about the lawsuit they filed over the death of their 10-month-old son.
Vincent Clark II and Ebony Clark talk to reporters Tuesday about the lawsuit they filed over the death of their 10-month-old son.
Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times