temperatures rise in locked cars and can injure or kill children insideHow Often Are Kids Left Unattended in Cars in Texas?

An average of 37 children die when left unattended in cars. Since 1994, 804 children have died from heat-related illnesses in cars in the United States, according to Kids and Cars, an advocacy center that conducts research on car-related dangers surrounding children.

Why Are Kids Left In Texas Metro Daycare Vehicles?

The daycare centers get in a hurry, do not have proper systems in place to conduct a proper head count on the kids, and do not have enough employees to handle the number of kids they are transporting safely. Generally, we see a few different ways these easy systems fail:

  1. The kids are not counted by head while standing still and compared to the actual roster of names checking them off. 
  2. The van is not checked by a second employee that is not in charge of the kids to ensure all kids and their belongings are off the van. 
  3. The van is not locked so kids cannot enter and get trapped inside after exiting the vehicle.

How Can Daycare Centers Prevent Leaving Kids In Vans?

Daycare centers understand the challenge of transporting even one or two kids, let alone 10-15 at a time. To ensure the safety of every child, they should have strict procedures in place - this is actually a law put in place by the State of Texas. Before departing, a headcount must be meticulously done, cross-referencing with a roster marked with each child's name. Once arrived at the destination, a designated employee double-checks the van to ensure every child and their belongings are safely off-board. Finally, the van must be securely locked, preventing any accidental re-entry and ensuring no child gets trapped inside.

Leaving children unattended in a daycare van is an absolute non-negotiable, categorized as a "never event" precisely because it should never occur under any circumstances. The safety and well-being of children in daycare settings demand constant vigilance and accountability.

What Should You Do if Your Child Was Left in a Van by a Daycare Facility?

First and foremost, prioritize seeking immediate medical attention for the child. Even if injuries aren't immediately visible, particularly with young children who may not express discomfort effectively, there's a risk of hidden trauma such as brain or internal organ damage. Time is of the essence in ensuring their well-being and preventing potential complications.

Leaving children inside cars can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke, leading to permanent disability or even death in just a matter of minutes. Children are particularly vulnerable to heat-related dangers due to their bodies' rapid temperature increase, three to five times faster than adults'. Additionally, the interior of a car can escalate by about 20 degrees within a mere 10 minutes. It's crucial to understand that simply cracking a window or minimizing sunlight exposure doesn't guarantee a child's safety from extreme temperatures. Even on a seemingly mild day of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a car can surge by 30 to 40 degrees within an hour, with 70% of this rise occurring in the initial 30 minutes.

The next crucial step for parents following a child's heatstroke incident in a daycare vehicle is promptly reporting it to both the police and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services daycare division. When daycare employees attempt to conceal leaving a child in the car by resorting to lies, it's a serious matter. Rather than taking responsibility and implementing preventive measures, they may hope to evade consequences. Unfortunately, parents may remain unaware of such incidents or their duration until legal intervention prompts a review of surveillance footage.

In Texas, a person who “intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is (1) younger than seven years of age; and (2) not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older” commits a Class C misdemeanor.

Finally, call a daycare negligence lawyer that knows how to properly investigate and handle these types of cases to get to the truth of what really happened to your child and make sure the daycare is held accountable so it doesn’t happen again. We all know that conduct rewarded is conduct repeated. Leaving kids in cars is not conduct we want to be rewarded by not enforcing the safety rules and holding them accountable.

Get a Free Consultation with Our Texas Daycare Injury Lawyers After Your Child Experiences a Heat Injury at Daycare

Our team of experienced and compassionate daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to advocating for you and your family if your child experiences a severe heat-related injury while in the care of a Texas daycare facility. With attorneys in Dallas, Houston, and Midland, we are ready to listen, fight for your family, and help your family move forward. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are 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 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.

Russell Button
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Dallas, Houston, and Midland Texas trial and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.