A boy just shy of 2 years old died from accidental injuries while in a portable bed at his Anoka County home day care, authorities said, and regulators have immediately suspended the provider’s license as investigators look into the death.
Cameron Lange suffered a “serious injury” last Friday at Little Hands Child Care in Circle Pines and died, according to the state Department of Human Services (DHS).
“We issued a temporary immediate suspension” of the state license for the day care, which operated out of the home of Amanda J. Schug in the 200 block of Little John Drive, said DHS spokeswoman Karen Smigielski. The provider does have the right to appeal.
“Due to the serious nature of the report under investigation,” the state order read, “Anoka County cannot ensure the safety of the persons served in your program. The commissioner of the Department of Human Services finds that the health, safety and rights of children in your care are in imminent risk of harm.”
Schug, whose home day care was licensed for up to 10 children, did not return calls Thursday.
“The child was trying to crawl out of a Pack ’n Play, like a portable bed,” said Sheriff’s Cmdr. Paul Sommer, whose office is investigating the death, “and it looks like he got caught on the edge of the Pack ’n Play and another bed above it.”
Sommer said “there wasn’t enough room” for Cameron to free himself and “he was hanging by his head on the Pack ’n Play and the other object,” which the commander described as a loft.
While Sommer said “the death is accidental” and there was “no intent on her part to do any harm … we are not relieving [the care provider] of culpability.”
A Star Tribune investigative series in 2012 found that children were dying in licensed child care facilities at a rate of nearly one per month, and almost exclusively in licensed home day cares rather than large centers. The number of deaths declined from 11 in 2011 to one in 2014 following the series and a state licensing crackdown on facilities with poor supervision and unsafe sleep environments for infants.
There were four deaths in 2015, though, with at least one occurring when a child choked on food and another involving a child who ran from the facility into traffic.
Cameron’s funeral was held Thursday at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Shoreview, where family and friends mourned with parents Christina Hamman and Ryan Lange, of Circle Pines.
“The casket was so tiny, and he looked so tiny,” said Jodie Sampson, a lifelong friend of Hamman’s who started a GoFundMe page to help the couple with funeral expenses.
“Cameron’s favorite song is ‘This Little Light of Mine,’ and we all sang it,” Sampson said. “He would go up to Mommy and say, ‘Mommy, let it shine.’ That’s when she knew it was time to sing.”
Sampson said that Friday was a workday like any other for the couple. Cameron was left at day care, and Hamman and Lange went to their jobs.
“The day care provider called Christina,” Sampson said. “There then were follow-up calls from police.”
Emergency personnel took Cameron to a Minneapolis hospital, but he did not make it.
“This is their only baby,” Sampson said. “He’s gorgeous.”
Star Tribune staff writer Jeremy Olson contributed to this report.