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Florida Daycare Provider Charged in Toddler’s Drowning Death

christianbyrd.jpg A southwest Florida daycare provider is facing charges of child neglect and aggravated manslaughter after a two-year-old boy died in a tragic drowning accident while in her care. Christian Byrd drowned on June 24 in a kiddie pool at the Smith Family Daycare in Lehigh Acres. Forty-two-year-old Melissa Smith, the owner of the daycare, remains in custody.

Smith had at least seven children in her care on June 24. Three of the children were inside her home and three were in a swimming pool. Smith placed Christian in the pool with a three-year-old and two four-year-olds and then she returned inside to check on the other children, according to Lee County deputies. While inside, Smith checked on the children and used the bathroom, according to a Fort Myers News-Press report. By the time she returned outside, one of the children in the pool told her “Christian’s dead.”

Smith picked Christian up and went to a neighbor’s house to get help, leaving the six other children unattended at her home, three of them still in the swimming pool. Smith’s attorney, Robert Harris, reports that his client is devastated and feels horrible about what happened. Harris said that Smith is CPR certified, but she panicked and asked a neighbor to perform CPR while she called 911. An autopsy confirmed that the young boy’s death was caused by drowning. According to the News-Press report, Smith’s daycare has been in operating since 2009 and it renewed its registration with the state on June 12. Smith was allowed to care for up to ten children at any given time under the Department of Children and Families regulation.

SW Fla. daycare owner charged in boy’s death, www.palmbeachpost.com July 19, 2013


Pools pose one of the most dangerous hazards for children. Drowning accidents have become all too common for toddlers, who are not well-equipped to handle all of the potential risks lurking in swimming pools. The families of young children who die in drowning accidents face great pain and devastation and are often left wondering how the accident could have happened. The Coral Gables child injury attorneys at the Friedland Law Group understand the pain that these families face. The swimming pool/drowning accident attorneys have spent over two decades helping families recover after these devastating accidents. If you have lost someone you love in a drowning accident, call a wrongful death attorney at (305) 661-2008 today for your free consultation! Don’t hesitate as the law places strict time limits on these types of claims. Call today!

The Miami personal injury attorneys at the Friedland Law Group handle all types of child injury cases throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The Friedland Law Group handles all types of personal injury claims, including slip and falls, defective products, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents and construction site injuries. Call today and let our family take care of your family!