By Liz Collin, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An I-TEAM investigation into the death of a little girl at her daycare has the attention of state lawmakers.

Last summer, Hannah Kozitza choked on a grape at Golden Heart Child Care Center in North Mankato. She died at the hospital. There were many questions about how those caring for her Hannah handled what happened that day.

The I-TEAM found under the law, only one day care worker must be trained in CPR. That could soon change.

The days don’t seem to get much easier for the family Hannah Kozitza left behind — a mom, dad and an older sister, who misses her best friend.

“We take one day at a time. We still hurt. We’ll always hurt. We miss her a lot,” said Jenni Kozitza.

Hannah was a 4-year-old girl who loved the water and to laugh. Her death is now a desire for change.

“The reality of this whole thing is Hannah went to daycare and didn’t come home. How much was that based on not being qualified to take care of her?” said Ron Edlund, Hannah’s grandfather.

This fall, the I-TEAM uncovered what happened in her final moments: a worker didn’t realize right away that Hannah choked and then made a call to Hannah’s parents before calling 911. There was no proof the first day care worker had been trained in CPR, though, under Minnesota law just one person on a child care site has to be.

“I couldn’t believe that was actually the case,” Edlund said.

Representative Mary Liz Holberg, a republican from Lakeville, has worked with the Kozitzas to write Hannah’s Law which calls for all teachers and assistant teachers in child care centers to complete CPR training.

“If there’s something we can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again, then I think we need to do it as lawmakers,” said Holberg.

The state fined Golden Heart for not calling 911 first and put the day care on probation for a year.

“It was a slap on the wrist to them, but a stab in the back to us. We have to live everyday without our daughter gone,” Justin Kozitza said.

They know they won’t get Hannah back, that’s why they will chose to fight for the safety of other children, just like her.

“We miss her so much it’s just unbelievable,” said Edlund.

If this law is passed, it will get Minnesota in line with what other states already require, like Wisconsin.

The Kozitzas will testify at the capitol in a few weeks lobbying for Hannah’s Law.

Read the first I-TEAM report here.

Comments (12)
  1. shirley says:

    such a no brainer, any measures to keep our kids safe is good.

  2. insignificant says:

    yeah…cpr training is really easy, 3-4 hours o training and a person can know how and get certified

  3. Sheila says:

    My heart goes out to Hannah’s family. I am a licensed home day care provider. If a home day care has other staff they are required to have CPR training. Why are the standards different for centers? It makes no sense. We are talking about keeping children safe.

  4. Gopherguy says:

    This should not have happened
    We need to get it right, children are in the daycares and needs proper attention when an emergency happens
    Not being trained is a travesty
    My heart goes out to the family

  5. Jeanne Schuett says:

    I am also a licensed home daycare provider and I also don’t understand this rule we have to have CPR as Sheila stated and when a child 12-14 goes for babysitting training they also have to have CPR but it isn’t required in a Center. Common sense should have told the aid or whatever they are called that this child was in distress and also common sense should have told her what to do. We are taught to call 911 first not the parents. Even children in grade school know how to do the Heimlich Maneuver. Sad to say this person had no business being in a daycare center at all.

  6. Deb says:

    As a licensed family home childcare provider (FCC) it irriates & saddens me that we are again linked to centers for their mistakes. The majority of what is reported on the news happens at centers, yet because its “daycare” people just assume it was a home. CPR training should not only be mandatory to everyone caring for children – whether it be their parents, grandparents, childcare center, childcare home, school teacher etc. Its not that hard to learn and could have easily saved Hannah. Another law isn’t going to bring her back or change what happened to Hannah. Free CPR training would save another person’s life!

    1. Ronnie says:

      It is sad that centers do not have to abide by the same standards FCC homes do. I also agree that FCC homes will receive the toughest revisions of standards despite the fact that a center was involved. My heart breaks for the family.

  7. Garden Nut says:

    I am also a licensed ( home) family child care provider. I am current and have First Aide/CPR. EVERY lead teacher and assistant teacher should have first aide and cpr. They are the only staff members besides the director (if they are qualified to do so by the law) that are allowed to be alone with the children. Please do not lump home providers and center staff in one category! We are licensed under different laws/rules. 9502 vs 9503. I used to be a director for a center and you would be surprised what goes on there. Headstart can also be listed in this category. Every adult directly responsible for the children should have CPR/First Aide! I am so sorry for the family’s loss. I can’t imagine their pain.

  8. alpharettadaycare says:

    Every single employee from the teacher to the janitor should be trained in CPR. Several hours for training is not that difficult!!