15-month-old dies after choking on toy at day care, parents say

The parents of a 15-month old baby who died after choking on a toy at day care said they're devastated.

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The facility where the incident allegedly happened was closed Friday and the Department of Children and Families is investigating the incident.

Little Malik was left fighting for his life.

His father, Earl Baker, said the boy choked on a toy while at day care and was rushed to the hospital.

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“When I got there, he was already unresponsive and they said he had been 3 to 5 minutes without oxygen,” Baker said.

With heavy hearts, they said goodbye to their 1-year-old Friday morning.

“I sung him his favorite lullaby whether he could hear me or not, and we held my baby’s hand until his heart stopped beating,” his mother, Amber Lee said.

Action News Jax learned DCF has launched an investigation Thursday into Tip Top 24 Hour Learning Center.

“My son is gone. My son is dead because I left him in the care of a licensed day care facility,” Lee said.

Action News Jax dug into the history of the day care and found it has been licensed since 2016.

Since then, DCF has found several violations, including the owner not having director credentials in 2017. According to DCF, it was fixed at the time of inspection.

The last inspection by DCF just 10 days ago revealed several violations, including no documentation showing child care personnel had begun training for the child care industry within 90 days of employment and three staff members didn’t have the annual form signed for child abuse and neglect reporting requirements.

The manager of the day care facility is listed as Tiffany Davis.

Action News Jax tried calling her and went to her home, but couldn’t get in touch for a comment.

Malik’s father said Davis apologized to his family at the hospital.

“She said she was sorry, but sorry can’t bring back my kid,” Baker said.

Action News Jax reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office twice Friday to confirm if there is a death investigation at the day care.

Baker said they have other kids at the day care that they plan to pull out.

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