Child Dies In Sweltering Daycare Van, Safety Advice May Offer Rude Awakening [Opinion]

There is nothing more tragic than what happened to 3-year-old Myles Hill, who was found dead Monday after spending all day forgotten inside a daycare van with the temperature topping 94 degrees outside. The van was parked outside the Florida daycare center in the sweltering summer heat, with Miles in that van for an estimated 11- plus hours.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that Miles wasn’t discovered inside that van until Monday night, but it was too late, since he had died earlier that day. While the police are waiting for the autopsy results before an official ruling can be made on Miles’ death, there’s not much doubt that the results will show the toddler died from the extreme heat, conveyed Mina.

Mina said in a news conference that “This is an absolute tragedy that could have been prevented.” Records from the Florida Department of Children and Families show that the daycare center was not in compliance with a rule that requires logs kept of the children’s arrival and departure times. This was found during a routine inspection last month. According to Fox News, the daycare worker who drove the van did admit to “not taking a head count” of the children.

Miles was taken to the Little Miracles Academy by the van on Monday, but while he attended daycare at the same agency, his daycare was at a different location. Why Miles was transported to a different daycare location is unknown and this is now part of the ongoing investigation, as reported in an earlier Inquisitr article today.

What the police chief said next is good advice because it is a terrific way to safeguard this from happening to you as a parent or caregiver of a child. But once you think about it, this advice says something about how we’ve evolved as a society. It may actually suggest that the thought of doing this is pretty sad. While what the police chief said won’t cause your jaw to drop, why he said it just might.

According to Fox, “Mina said Myles’ death was the fifth fatality in Florida this year involving a child left in a hot vehicle.” Along with that statistic, Mina said something else:

“[He] pleaded with parents and caregivers to put their cell phones, wallets or purses in the back seat with their children so they are reminded to look back there when they leave their vehicles.”

No matter what it involves, it is worth it if it will safeguard your child. If putting something in the back seat of your car will jar your memory if need be and act as a reminder for your child’s safety, then, by all means, do it. When it comes down to it, Mina offered up some good advice.

The saddest part about these words of advice coming from Mina is that he is correct. But what does this say about us as a society? Are we more apt to notice our cell phone is left behind than our child left sitting or sleeping in their car seat?

Statistics show that adults check their smartphones about every six minutes, or 150 times per day. So if your cell phone is left behind in your car, chances are you will go back to your vehicle and retrieve the phone not too long after leaving your car.

According to NoHeatStroke.org, since 1998, the average number of children who die from heat stroke each year after being left in a hot car is 37 per year.

So far in 2017, as of July 31, 29 children have died after being left in hot vehicles. There are more deaths of children from being left in a hot vehicle at this point in time (July 31) this year than any other previous year, cites CNN.

Jan Null, who is a certified consulting meteorologist with the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose State University, said this “is the highest we’ve ever had.” Null logs these statistics, along with other data, on NoHeatStroke.org.

Null also said there are several more child deaths each year that are caused by kids being left in a hot car and those numbers aren’t added into these statistics. These numbers go under the radar and don’t make it into the data. So the numbers presented on NoHeatStroke.org are on the conservative side. It seems that not a week goes by in the summer months that there isn’t a headline about a child dying in a hot car in this nation.

With people checking their cell phones on the average of every six minutes, this sounds like a terrific way to make sure kids aren’t left behind. It would be interesting to know when the person driving the daycare van first used their cell phone after parking the vehicle with little Miles inside. If that cell phone was tucked under the child’s car seat, would that have jarred the van driver’s memory?

The police chief named a few inanimate objects to leave in the backseat when transporting a child for jarring your memory just in case. These include your cell phone, your purse, or your wallet. Does this mean as a society we are more apt to miss these belongings before remembering our child is still in the backseat of the vehicle?

Mina gave some of the best advice when it comes to remembering your child is with you in the car. It fits in nicely with the way society operates today. Basically, your cell phone has become so much a part of you that leaving it near your child while traveling by car will pretty much assure your little one won’t become a statistic.

So, if you leave your cell phone, wallet, or purse in the backseat of the car when transporting your child, when you go to retrieve that object, your child is right there. But something doesn’t sit right with this. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? As humans shouldn’t we be jarring our memories to remember the inanimate objects when we reach into the backseat acting on our first thought… taking our child out of the car? We should remember our child first, and the other objects should be the afterthought.

In a perfect world, if we didn’t want to forget our phones, wallets, or purses, leaving them near your precious cargo should remind you to take them with you. That precious cargo is your child. Mina’s advice is spot-on, but the rude awakening comes when you realize why he is correct in suggesting this — cell phones are an important part life and something you’re apt to remember. Not the best thought when it comes to priorities.

[Featured Image by ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock]