Happy Happy Home Daycare on Fleetwood Drive in the Almaden neighborhood has been licensed since early 2021 and run by Nina Fathizadeh and Shahin Shenas, state records show. It is considered a small family day care home, which only allows a maximum of eight children being cared for at one time.
Safety concerns in the pool area were identified by regulators with the California Department of Social Services during pre-licensing evaluations.
Online records show the fence surrounding the pool needed to be modified, so four windows would not have direct access to the pool. Inspectors also found four-inch gaps at the ends of the fencing that needed to be reduced.
A follow-up inspection in late January 2021 noted that fixes had been made, making the pool inaccessible to children and the area in compliance with safety regulations. Additionally, all hazardous items in the backyard were removed.
"There’s not one single solution that’s going to completely eliminate the risk," said Adam Katchmarchi with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. "We talk about a multi-stage intervention strategy."
Katchmarchi said drowning is the single leading cause of death for children ages one to four in the United States. And among all kids, 800 to 1,000 die by drowning each year.
"That’s equivalent to 11 school buses full of children under the age of 18," he said. "It is quick and it is silent, 20 to 60 seconds and the child is going to be unconscious under the water,"
San Jose Police are investigating what led to the drowning of two girls, 18-month-old Payton Alexandria Cobb of Hollister and Lillian Hanan, 1, of San Jose. A third child at the day care suffered injuries and is expected to survive.
Happy Happy Home has been cited six times in less than three years, state records show. During an unannounced inspection in January, regulators found five infants in the home – a violation of the license which only allows three infants to be cared for at one time.
They also found an adult day care assistant was working but never received a criminal record clearance. The state considers that a serious violation that was later corrected.
Other violations include failing to perform a disaster drill within the past six months, not notifying parents of their rights and not fulfilling required reporter training.
Then, just weeks ago, the day care was cited for not documenting and not checking on infants every 15 minutes during sleep time.
One of the owners refused to answer questions or speak with KTVU outside of the daycare on Tuesday. Other requests for comment from the owners have gone unanswered.
It is not clear how many children were being cared for at the time of the double drowning.
Police and the state did not comment on how many adults were in the home and said the incident is under investigation.
"If you have a pool you really do need to implement strong layers of protection and that’s going to including barriers and alarms to restrict access," Katchmarchi said. "That’s the most critical thing, but it’s not the only thing because let’s face it, children are crafty."