Two sisters plead not guilty after being arraigned for endangering the lives of children at the Livermore, California daycare they own. Nazila Sharaf, 35, and Lida Sharaf, 33, were released after paying over $300,000 in bail and are both currently pregnant with their second children. Allegedly, the two wrapped babies too tightly in swaddling blankets, putting them in danger of suffocation. Each sister received 3 counts of felony child abuse and neglect and misdemeanor charges as well. However, the sisters’ attorney claims that the pair never meant to harm the children. According to Carousel Day School, an award winning early childhood education center, proper swaddling techniques are necessary to ensure safety in infants.
Official reports state that the sisters swaddled 7 babies too tightly to the point that they could not move and breathing became impaired. The children ranged in ages from 7 months to 1 year. They were wrapped in swaddling blankets closed tightly with knots, restricting movement in their arms and legs. At times, blankets were thrown over top of the children, preventing proper breathing even further. Police described these conditions as life threatening. Professionals say that these children were too old to be swaddled in the first place.
The investigation began after the Department of Social Services found a few licensing discretions with the daycare. The police intervened and began interviewing parents of the infants enrolled at the daycare. One previous employee of the daycare also reported to police that she was worried about certain techniques used at the facility. Luckily, none of the children showed any sign of injury from the alleged abuse and the preschool was closed last month.
In 2010, Social Services actually closed another daycare owned by Lida Sharaf because of similar issues with child safety. Complaints about that facility included concerns with swaddling infants. However, officials allowed Sharaf to continue working in child care as long as she was not the owner of the business. At the Livermore daycare, Nazila Sharaf was technically listed as the owner while her sister was just an employee. This type of irresponsible behavior is not typical of daycares, like Carousel Day School, that strictly follow state regulations and genuinely care about the well-being of children.
ABOUT: Carousel Day School is year-round facility dedicated to providing children with a safe and fun learning environment. Carousel Day School was named “Best Private School in Hicksville” in both 2010 and 2011.