Employees told officers they found the child in water about 2 feet deep in the baptismal pool and called for help, said officer Kendale Adams, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) spokesman.
Adams said the boy attended the day care center at the church. He was found about 1:45 p.m. and taken to St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, where he died a short time later, police said.
A one-year-old is able to wander off on unsteady feet, unnoticed, until he stumbles into a baptismal pool that shouldn't be accessible to him at all. A tragedy, and sure stuff happens in other day care centers, but here's the kicker:
"This was preventable," said Emily Barrow, of Child Care Answers in Indianapolis. "Licensed facilities have a sight and sound regulation; child care ministries do not."
The "sight and sound" rule requires children to be within seeing and hearing distance of an adult at all times....
Among the other exemptions are staff-to-child ratios; educational requirements for owners or managers; medication monitoring; nutrition requirements; food safety and sanitation requirements; and heating and lighting standards.
The Praise Fellowship Assembly of God Church did have to meet an additional 17 requirements in order to receive federal funding. The most important of those included drug testing and limited criminal background checks for employees, officials said.
I looked up the statute (.pdf) and it's even worse than it sounds. Not only are these places allowed to operate without a license, but parents sign waivers saying they'll take responsibility for kids' health and nutrition. They can also exempt kids from vaccinations on religious grounds. Other than Christian "Science," who would qualify for that? Apparently Indiana lawmakers think that children in religious care are different from children in secular care. I mean, the Baby Jesus waited until he was old enough before getting dunked, didn't he?
Until now, anyway. They should name the inevitable too-late statute over the little baby that died.