Nursery temporarily shut down as toddler dies after 'choking'

Father’s heartbreak as baby son ‘dies peacefully in his arms’ days after the nine-month-old ‘choked’ at nursery

  • Oliver Steeper died in hospital after ‘choking’ at Jelly Beans Day Nursery, Kent 
  • Ofsted suspended day care provider’s licence over ‘safeguarding concerns’
  • Inquiry to be launched by watchdog over concerns kids were ‘exposed to harm’
  • His father, Lewis, shared emotional tribute online as flowers were left at nursery 

A heartbroken father has spoken of his despair after his baby son died in his arms following a ‘choking’ incident at nursery.  

Nine-month-old Oliver Steeper died six days after being rushed to hospital over a ‘medical emergency’ at Jelly Beans Day Nursery in Ashford, Kent on September 23.  

Education watchdog Ofsted temporarily suspended the day care provider’s licence over ‘serious safeguarding concerns’ in the wake of the incident.

An investigation is now set to be launched by the regulator following concerns that children may be ‘exposed to a risk of harm’. 

Mourners left heart-warming tributes and flowers outside the nursery, as Oliver’s devastated parents shared their memories of him in an emotional Facebook post. 

His father, Lewis Steeper wrote: ‘Our baby boy, our world sadly lost his battle a short time ago and passed away peacefully in our arms. 

‘We have been so blessed with him in our little family for the 9 months he was here, bringing us joy and happiness every second of the day.

‘We both miss Oliver dearly and wish we could see his little beautiful smile and his voice again and would do anything to have that opportunity again just for one second.’ 

Nine-month-old Oliver Steeper died six days after being rushed to hospital over a ‘medical emergency’ at Jelly Beans Day Nursery in Ashford, Kent

Tributes have been left outside Jelly Beans Day Nursery (pictured above) after Oliver ‘choked’ at the day care provider on September 23

Oliver reportedly choked while at Jelly Beans Day Nursery – which cares for babies as young as three months old – on September 23.

Nursery bosses wrote to inform parents about the tragic occurrence.  

Manager Debbie Alcock wrote in an email to parents: ‘You will be aware that last week on Thursday we needed to ask for emergency services to attend the nursery due to a sudden and very unexpected medical need.

‘At present we do not know the cause.

‘Myself and some of my staff were directly involved in assisting and due to the need for the parents’ privacy and respect we still cannot give you any further information and in fact we have not been updated ourselves.

‘Ofsted have made a decision to suspend our registration. This means that we cannot care for any child while the suspension is in place.’

Jelly Beans Day Nursery has been contacted for comment.  

In 2016 the nursery, then run by Ranc Care, came in for scathing criticism from Ofsted after an inspection found a toddler had been given an overdose of prescription medication 

Jelly Beans day nursery in Ashford closed after a child died following a medical emergency

An online fundraiser, which described the youngster as a ‘joy to everyone that knew him’, has currently raised more than £9,000 for the grieving family. 

The tribute read: ‘On 29th September, baby Oliver Steeper passed away peacefully in hospital after a short battle.

‘Oliver was such a joy to everyone that knew him, with a cheeky little smile that you couldn’t help but love. He will forever be remembered by his loving family.

‘This fundraiser is for Zoe and Lewis, to bring them a little bit more time without added financial worries.’

Oliver’s death comes five years after the nursery, then run by Ranc Care, came in for scathing criticism from Ofsted after an inspection found a toddler had been given an overdose of prescription medication. 

As a result, its Ofsted rating was downgraded from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’. A later inspection in 2018 restored its ‘good’ rating.

An Ofsted spokesperson said: ‘We have suspended the nursery’s registration due to serious safeguarding concerns. 

‘It will remain closed while investigations continue.’ 

For more information on how you can donate to Oliver’s fundraiser, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/oliversteeper 

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