A Texas day care center allegedly left a 3-year-old child in a hot van for hours on a day when the temperature outside was 113 degrees, KTRK-TV (Houston) is reporting. The child later died.
Police say that at about 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, the child’s father showed up at Discovering Me Academy, a Houston-area day care, to pick up his child. He would later find out that his child had been left in a van for over three hours, in triple-digit heat, after a field trip.
Kenneth Brooks witnessed the scene.
“The next thing I know, a few hours later the dad and the owner came out and was crying. When EMS had him, he was just limp, you know. Right there, I knew the kid was gone. It’s a sad day.”
According to ABC News, the boy was among 28 kids from the day care center who had been taken by bus to a field trip. Constable Alan Rosen says his name was on a list of kids who were supposed to be accounted for when they returned from the trip, but for some reason, he was left in the van anyway.
“It seems to me this was just gross negligence. It’s just tragic.”
As it turns out, the day care center has been cited for van-related violations before. In one instance, the school was cited for not having a safety alarm that would alert the driver that a child was in a seat before the driver closed the doors. A second violation was for not reporting a wreck in a timely manner. A third violation was for the driver of the van not knowing how many kids were supposed to be in her van.
As of this writing, no arrests have been made, although Rosen says an investigation is underway. The bus driver and a chaperone have been questioned, and criminal charges may yet be coming.
” I can’t fathom being a father and losing a child like this, and so our prayers and thoughts are with this family.”
And employees, speaking on condition of anonymity to the Houston Chronicle, said that someone somewhere failed to follow protocol.
“We have policies in place, the right policies, but we cannot force people to follow them.”
So far this year, three children in Texas alone have died from being left in hot vehicles.
“Texas ranks #1 in the nation in child hot car deaths with 123 fatalities since 1991.”