Parents of late Island Lake toddler found unresponsive at day care seek to make facilities safer

The parents of a toddler who was found unresponsive at an Island Lake day care and later died have joined with a state representative to make day cares safer, their attorney said.

The couple also are suing Lots of Tots Child Care Inc. and its president and director, Christine Crutchfield, claiming negligence in the death of 23-month-old Calum Dudakiw-Warrick.

"Calum was a healthy boy, and his death was a tragic and devastating loss," said James C. Pullos, a partner at Chicago-based Clifford Law Offices. "The Dudakiw-Warrick family is grateful for the thoughts and prayers of their community. Though nothing will ever fill the void left behind, this lawsuit provides an opportunity for the Dudakiw-Warrick family to gain some sense of justice for Calum's untimely death."

Pullos also said Calum's parents, Felicia Walters and John Paul Dudakiw-Warrick, are working with state Rep. Martin McLaughlin of Barrington Hills and other members of the General Assembly to pass legislation designed to make daycare facilities safer and making cameras mandatory in all daycare facilities in Illinois.

On April 25, Calum was found "unresponsive with his neck resting on the edge of a plastic toy storage bin that was pulled out of a shelf by the employees and/or agents of Defendants," according to the lawsuit. The boy died four days later at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago.

No one has been charged criminally in his death, authorities have said.

The lawsuit states the "defendants by and through their agents and/or employees had the duty to exercise ordinary care" for the child and to protect him "from any choking and asphyxiation hazards that may be present."

The lawsuit further asserts that Crutchfield or her employees may not have "reasonably" trained and supervised staff on "the required care and treatment of infant children," or that they did not "continuously remain" on the premises of the day care to ensure "proper childcare" or "conduct adequate visual checks on the children" including Calum.

An attempt to reach McLaughlin was not immediately successful.

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