Child left in van for hours at a Houston Daycare facilityIn February 2023, a 4-year-old boy took a daycare van from his public school to afterschool care in Houston. However, he never made it inside the Houston daycare center. Caregivers, including the driver, neglected to comply with state daycare laws that address how to safely transport young children and left him in the locked van unattended for three hours.

The Houston daycare center realized the toddler was missing when his mother arrived to pick him up at the end of the day. Caregivers searched for 10 minutes before telling the boy’s mother they did not pick up her child from his school. Later, the daycare’s director appeared with the toddler, claiming she found him asleep in a restroom. However, that was a lie.

The toddler’s mother contacted our Texas daycare injury lawyers at The Button Law Firm to hold the Houston daycare center accountable for endangering her son’s life by leaving him in a locked daycare van for a prolonged amount of time and trying to cover up the incident. Our legal team fought to secure a settlement that allowed the toddler and his mom to move forward.

How the Houston Daycare Endangered a Toddler by Ignoring Childcare Transportation Laws

Leaving a child unattended in a locked daycare van or bus can lead to serious health issues and, in some cases, fatalities. Depending on the temperatures and how long the child is left in the vehicle, little ones can experience:

  • Brain damage
  • Cardiac abnormalities from deprived oxygen
  • Dehydration
  • Heatstroke
  • Hypothermia
  • Long-term psychological trauma such as anxiety disorders and PTSD
  • Organ failure
  • Vomiting

That is why Texas daycare laws, also known as minimum standards, require that facilities transporting children follow strict procedures to prevent these incidents from happening. Per the minimum standards, daycare centers like the Houston daycare center, in this case, must:

  • Account for all children exiting the vehicle before leaving the vehicle unattended
  • Complete transportation training before driving children annually
  • Ensure the safety of all children during transportation
  • Keep a list of children being transported to and from the daycare center
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle
  • Notify parents and report any incident that places a child at risk to the state licensing department
  • Report all incidents involving serious injury or neglect to children to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
  • Walk and check the inside of the vehicle, both in and under each seat

Unfortunately, the Houston daycare center did not follow any of the required protocols that could have prevented the entire situation and saved the child from being traumatized. An independent investigation conducted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services revealed that the incident involving our client’s son, in this case, was not the first time the Houston daycare center broke childcare safety laws. Because of this, the Houston daycare center must complete three steps each time it transports children, including using a sign-in sheet for the driver and receiving teacher, daily completion of a transportation checklist, and acquiring signatures from two caregivers on the completed daily transportation checklist. The daycare’s owner is also no longer allowed to transport children.

How The Button Law Firm Got Justice for This Houston Toddler and His Family

As you can imagine, the young boy was traumatized from his experience of being left in the daycare van at the Houston daycare center. He feared being alone and experienced extreme separation anxiety from his mother, refusing to let go of her and clinging on to her, even when reassured of his safety. His mother even had to sleep next to him so that he felt safe and slept through the night.

Doctors reported that the little boy was fearful and anxious and recommended counseling and behavioral therapy. Attending multiple sessions helped him process what happened to him, identify anxiety triggers, and learn positive coping strategies.

His mother, who was pregnant at the time of her son’s incident at the Houston daycare center, also experienced a great deal of stress from the situation that manifested into headaches and abdominal pain, endangering her pregnancy. She struggled for months to help her child get the proper care he needed to address all of his growing fears and trauma from the incident. Focusing on her child also caused her to constantly miss work, which led to additional stress.

Our Texas daycare injury lawyers at The Button Law Firm secured a settlement for the boy and his family, holding the Houston daycare center accountable for disregarding child safety and transportation laws. The family was also compensated for all the damages they experienced so that they could heal and move forward.

Contact The Button Law Firm If Your Child Was Left in a Daycare Bus or Van  

If a daycare center in Texas left or locked your child in a bus or van because caregivers neglected to follow daycare transportation safety laws, contact our experienced daycare injury lawyers at The Button Law Firm. With lawyers in Dallas, Houston, and Midland, we are ready to listen, fight for your family, and help your family move forward. Our legal team at The Button Law Firm is recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatizing incident involving your child. We work on contingency, meaning we don’t charge you or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Call us at 214-699-4409, email us at [email protected], or fill out a contact form for a free case evaluation.
Russell Button
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Dallas, Houston, and Midland Texas trial and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.

DISCLAIMER: The results are specific to the facts and legal circumstances of each of the clients' cases and should not be used to form an expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client's case.