How Real Are Heat-Related Child Deaths in Texas Due to Hot Vehicles?
One of the most common causes of heat-related deaths in children is leaving them in a parked car. When a daycare van is parked in the sun, the temperature inside the car can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Think about that for a moment. 20 minutes being left in the van means the temperature rises 40 degrees. So, if it was already 95 outside, it is now 135 degrees inside. That is alarming. Leaving a child in a van for any amount of time can lead to death, within minutes.
Our Texas daycare injury attorney knows it is not safe for a kid to be left in a vehicle even on a warm day with those kinds of temperature rises. In the Texas summer sun, it doesn’t help if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. The temperatures inside the van are still increasing to what they are on the outside.
How Easy It Is To Prevent By Teachers At Texas Daycares?
Super easy. Daycare centers in Texas should have the systems in place to have two different staff members check the van once the kids get off, every inch of it for kids and kids' belongings. Then the van should be locked so children cannot get back inside. As it is time to get back in the van, there should be a documented roster check with roll call. Counting heads is not sufficient.
What Should A Daycare Employee Do If A Child Is Left Inside A Van?
The first thing is to check the medical vitals for heatstroke. If they are not trained on what to do about heatstroke, that is another qualification and training issue altogether.
Next, they should have someone else call the child's parents and notify them. The staff needs to be honest so the parents can understand the seriousness of the situation. This is key because a parents’ guard will be let down if the daycare makes it seem like it wasn’t very long or it didn’t happen at all. For example, we have seen a case where the kid was left in the van for 30 minutes but the parents were told 5 minutes. That is not only a lie, it did not alarm the parent enough.
Then, call the emergency service or take the kid to the hospital or have the parent take them. Depending on the severity of the condition of the child, some action is better than none.