Unlicensed home daycare providers should be bound by many of the rules that govern licensed daycares, including a restriction that forbids pools at home day cares, an inquest jury recommended.
The five-person-jury made 16 recommendations Thursday at the inquest into the 2010 drowning death of Orleans two-year-old Jérémie Audette.
Audette drowned in a backyard pool while on an outing with his unlicensed daycare provider to the home of another daycare provider. About 30 children and four to six adults were at the home when the daughter of the homeowner found the two-year-old boy at the bottom of their outdoor pool.
The jury ruled the death accidental.
The jury made a number of recommendations concerning unlicensed day cares, including that the ratio of adults to children should be same as for licensed daycares. Licensed home daycare providers can only have five children, including their own children, in the home.
The jury also recommended that all daycares, regardless of license, be registered, and that the Day Nurseries Act be amended to allow for unannounced safety inspections of registered daycares.
The jury also recommended private daycare providers be certified as trained and that there be no pools at home-based daycares. The Ministry of Education director for eastern Ontario had already prohibited pools in licensed home day cares in the region following a 2011 coroner's report on drownings in the province.
Other recommendations include:
- Asking the Ministry of Education to provide more public information on differences between home-based daycares and regulated daycares.
- Requiring municipalities to enact pool enclosure bylaws.
- Ensuring pool gates be self-locking, and establishing an inspection process to make sure.
- Requiring backyard pools to be supervised at all times when a child is in the pool.
- Asking realtors to distribute pool safety info to homebuyers buying homes with pools.
The recommendations of the inquest jury are not binding.
Jeremie's father Alain said after the inquest he hoped the recommendation might prevent a tragedy like what happened to his son in the future.