The child also had two bruises on her face, relatives said.
A woman who identified herself as the director of the center, at 5600 Woodland Ave., declined to give a statement yesterday.
Police are routinely investigating the death, and are waiting for cause of death to be determined.
About 100 people attended a vigil last night in front of the day-care center. Many were upset that Brightside did not tell them about the incident until yesterday. Several mothers said they had already heard Shahadah's death on the news or from other parents. "I felt like they were hiding something," said Monique Dodds, whose 2-year-old son and 13-year-old diabetic daughter go to the center.
A letter dated Sep. 21 was given to parents yesterday explaining that Shahadah was found unconscious on a tricycle the week prior and had later died.
"We are fully cooperating with authorities in this investigation," according to the letter signed by Brightside Academy chief executive officer Harold Lewis.
Brightside Academy is one of the region's largest providers of day-care services to low-income families, with 30 locations in Philadelphia and sites in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and New York, according to its Web site.
The company, previously named Allegheny Child Care, filed for bankruptcy in April 2003. It was renamed Brightside Academy in March 2005 after emerging from bankruptcy.
Contact staff writer Kera Ritter at 215-854-4449 or email@example.com.