9-month-old boy died after he was found in car seat at home day care, DCF report says

Day care provider said boy fell, investigators say his injuries didn't match

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

Right: Zachary Michael Jackson's mother took this photo before dropping him off at day care on July 17. Left: The family home day care were the 9-month-old was found unconscious in a car seat.

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A 9-month-old boy died last month after he was found unresponsive in a car seat at a Clermont home day care,  according to a Florida Department of Children and Families report obtained by News 6.

On July 17, Zachary Jackson was at The Dodd Family Daycare, inside a home on Summerset Court, when Lake County deputies said he was found unresponsive and rushed to the Clermont Centra Care on State Road 50 at 4:22 p.m. by a child care provider.

Lake County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Fred Jones said the baby was blue when deputies arrived at Clermont Centra Care.

Zachary was then taken to South Lake Hospital and transferred to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children where he died on July 18, DCF officials said.

When DCF investigators first interviewed the day care owners, they said Zachary had tried to climb out of his playpen and fell, but that story did not match Zachary's injuries, according to the report. Investigators said they later learned the 9-month-old was found unresponsive in a car seat by someone at the day care.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office is currently investigating Zachary's death and the Medical Examiner's Office is completing an autopsy, which should include the cause of death.

News 6 stopped by Dodd's Family Daycare on Friday. The owners said they have no comment regarding the incident.

According to DCF's child care provider search site, The Dodd Family Daycare, a registered family day care home, could care for up to 10 children.

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said the department immediately issued an order ceasing operations at Dodd Family Daycare after the boy's death. The day care was ordered to stop watching children pending the investigation.

According to DCF, the family day care was involved in one prior report in 2015. Details about that incident were not available.

Florida law requires that anyone who provides child care in their home for more than one unrelated family member must either be registered or licensed through DCF. However, registered family day care homes are not inspected by DCF.

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