News / Vancouver

Baby Mac’s parents call for daycare reform after toddler’s tragic death

Macallan Wayne Saini died Jan. 18, 2017 while in daycare.

Friends and family described 'Baby Mac' as "a brilliant star that appeared in our lives for only a short time, but will forever change us all."

Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini/Contributed

Friends and family described 'Baby Mac' as "a brilliant star that appeared in our lives for only a short time, but will forever change us all."

The parents of a 16-month-old Vancouver toddler who died in what has been described as a tragic accident while in daycare have released a statement about their son’s death, calling for “massive reform” in B.C.’s daycare system.

Macallan Wayne Saini died Jan. 18, 2017 in an East Vancouver home.

In a statement, the Vancouver Police Department say the Major Crime Section is investigating the child's death.  

"In order to help maintain the integrity of the investigation, no additional updates will be provided," the release said.

Macallan Wayne Saini was one day away from turning 16-months old when he died.

Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini/Contributed

Macallan Wayne Saini was one day away from turning 16-months old when he died.

In their statement, Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini described their son’s death as “entirely preventable” and called for more safe and affordable daycare options in B.C.

“We don't want our sweet boy's death to have been in vain. The day care system in British Columbia needs massive reform. Like most parents in BC, we found the choices impossibly limited when it came to day care spaces,” they said.

“In Mac's memory we will fight for accountable, safe and affordable daycare.”

Below is Shepard and Saini’s full statement:

We are Mac's Mommy and Daddy. 

Let us begin by saying we are profoundly appreciative of the support we have received from our families, friends, community and even people we don't know.  We are humbled by this outpouring of love during our darkest days.

Today we said goodbye to Macallan Wayne Saini, our perfect baby boy.  On January 18, 2017, one day before Mac was to turn 16 months, he was suddenly taken from us.

Mac filled a room with his joy and curiosity.  His eyes sparkled and smiled at everyone and everything. Mac was such a happy boy that loved to laugh and play "jokes" on Momma and Dada. He had just learned how to climb on the couch and how to hide in a corner so that he could toddle out and pretend to scare people. He mastered signing "more" and would use it when he was being pushed on the swing so that we wouldn't stop. Mac was very proud of himself whenever he learned a new skill and so were we. These memories of him and his life, these glimpses into what kind of a man he would have become, are all we have now.  We will never teach Mac to ride a bike, walk him to school, or see him fall in love. All the things parents dream of.

We know parents are scared and want to know how this could happen. Please know this: we did all the checks a diligent parent should do. We had lists of things to look for and questions to ask. We signed papers, we were given assurances and promises that made us feel like Mac would be safe and well cared for. In the end, this was all meaningless. Mac's death was entirely preventable and we want to make sure this never happens again.  We cannot comment further on the details of his death. 

We don't want our sweet boy's death to have been in vain. The day care system in British Columbia needs massive reform. Like most parents in BC, we found the choices impossibly limited when it came to day care spaces. Parents are rushed to take the one spot available and pressured into making decisions that may not work for their family. In Mac's memory we will fight for accountable, safe and affordable daycare. The most precious and vulnerable members of our population aren't able to tell us what is happening behind closed doors. We in BC need to know that when our children are away from us that they will not be harmed and that they are treated with care and respect. No other mother should ever have to see the love of her life lying dead on the floor. No father should have to load his son's casket into a crematorium furnace. 

Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini issued a statement following their son's death in January 2017.

Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini/Contributed

Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini issued a statement following their son's death in January 2017.

We are so overwhelmed by Mac's death.  Losing him has completely shattered us. He was the love of our lives. Our heart. Our joy. Our everything.

All we have left now are memories and ashes.

Shelley Sheppard and Chris Saini

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