Toddler dies after choking on sandwich at Arizona in-home daycare

MESA, Ariz. (KNXV/CNN) - As a mother mourns her 1-year-old son who choked to death, police are investigating an in-home daycare in Arizona.

Mother Star Jones says she never expected she would have to bury her son, 1-year-old Symhir, when she dropped him off Oct. 23 at Tiffany’s In-Home Child Care, an in-home daycare in Mesa, Arizona.

"I said, ‘I love you,’ and he said, ‘I love you, too, Mom.’ I just wish I could’ve hugged him longer,” she said, through tears.

Symhir, 1, died days after he choked on a sandwich at an in-home daycare in Mesa, Arizona.
Symhir, 1, died days after he choked on a sandwich at an in-home daycare in Mesa, Arizona. (Source: Family photos/KNXV/CNN)

Jones says later that day she got a call from the daycare owner, Tiffany, who said Symhir had choked on a sandwich, and help was on the way.

"I just kept asking her, ‘Is my baby OK? Is he OK?’ She said, ‘He’s OK. Yes, they’re taking the food out of his mouth. They’re still getting the food out of his mouth. He’s OK,’” Jones said.

But Symhir didn’t make it. His brain had been deprived of oxygen for too long, according to a GoFundMe set up for the family.

"It's so hard for me to just live on,” Jones said.

The family had been using the daycare since the summer. Jones says she learned about it after seeing a flyer on social media. That flyer stated Tiffany is CPR-certified.

Jones now wishes she would’ve asked Tiffany to verify her training.

"I didn’t know that she hadn’t had a CPR license until the paramedics and the detectives were questioning her. She told them she hadn’t had a license in years,” she said.

Mesa Police say they’re still investigating what happened. No charges have been filed.

Jones says other parents should ask for proof of everything a childcare provider says they have and do.

“There are little things that I missed that I feel guilty as a parent,” she said.

The daycare is not listed in the Arizona Department of Public Health’s database for licensed childcare providers. State law requires in-home daycares to be licensed if they have more than four children in their care.

Copyright 2019 KNXV, Family photos via CNN. All rights reserved.