OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Bilma Maese-Sanchez may spend time in jail after an infant died at her unlicensed home daycare.
On February 4, police responded to a call for a child who was not breathing. When officers arrived, they found 7-month-old Gabriel Omar Rivera-Contreras dead. The cause of death, police say, is "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome," or SIDS.
Police say Rivera-Contreras's mother dropped him off early in the morning and when she returned just after noon, the boy was in a crib, unresponsive.
Prosecutors say 54-year-old Maese-Sanchez was reckless in regards to the child's safety and charged her with aggravated endangering of a child as well as unlawfully maintaining a child care facility.
"The biggest problem is that there are no inspections done. The parents don't have that safeguard in place," said Eldonna Chesnut with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.
There are 1,017 licensed facilities in Johnson County, but what is not known is how many unlicensed facilities are in operation. Most of the time they are discovered when someone makes a report or after a tragedy happens.
"We have had a lot of injuries and unfortunately deaths occur at illegal daycares," said Chesnut. "Not to say they cannot happen at legal daycares as well, accidents certainly can happen. But history shows there are more problems when it is illegal."
Licensed daycares are inspected once a year to make sure children are in a safe environment with no access to chemicals, medications or other hazards. Safe sleep spaces are a priority for the agency.
Safe sleep regulations include: well-constructed cribs or Pack-N-Plays, firm-fitting mattresses, tight sheets, no blankets or toys, nothing in the sleep area but the child. They should also not sleep in closed rooms where the caretaker cannot hear them.
You can check to see if your child's daycare is licensed and in good standing on The Kansas Department of Health and Environment website by clicking on this link.