The New York State Office of Children and Family Services is investigating a day care center in Cheektowaga, New York, after a toddler choked on a pretzel.
Ben Levine said that on July 13, his son, 18-month-old Kadyn, choked on a pretzel while in the care of employees at Doodle Bugs Children’s Centers. Staff contacted Levine and his fiancee to inform them of what they described as a “small incident,” but surveillance footage apparently told a different story.
“You see my son just go limp and kind of fall back,” Levine said. “Head back, back arched, arms out and you see him that way for close to a minute.”
Levine says the day care center neglected to inform him that his son lost consciousness after choking on the pretzel. He found out two days after the incident while reviewing the surveillance footage. A teacher used her fingers to clear Kadyn’s airway, which allowed him to regain consciousness.
The teacher told reporters that had she not taken the action she did, Kadyn would have died in her arms.
Shortly after the incident, the teacher revealed, Doodle Bugs terminated her without explanation.
“The toddler was beginning to choke on a pretzel,” Doodle Bugs CEO Anthony Insinna said in an email to WKBW.
“One teacher swept the child's mouth and cleared the child's airway. The child was alert and upright at all times. The child did not lose consciousness. The pretzel was in the child's mouth, not down the airway, so reaching in with your fingers and removing any food is the first step.”
The choking incident comes just weeks after a similar incident at a day care center in Abilene, Texas, which resulted in the death of a toddler.