What Should I Do if My Child Was Left In a Van at a Houston Daycare?
It’s no secret that Houston summers are brutal. Those scorching temperatures are amplified for children locked inside a daycare van or bus. In fact, temperatures can rise 19 degrees inside of a locked vehicle in just 10 minutes, according to a KHOU story.
More than 942 children have died from being left in a hot car or daycare van between 1998 and April 2023, according to NoHeatStroke.org, a nonprofit that raises awareness about pediatric vehicle-related heatstroke incidents. In the summer of 2022, three Houston-area children, all under the age of 5, passed away after being left locked in a hot vehicle.
Sadly, many Houston children are locked in hot daycare vans each year. Our experienced Houston daycare injury attorneys help families hold negligent daycares accountable for reckless behavior when transporting precious cargo like your child. In advance of the summer season, we’re educating Houston parents about what to do in case their child experiences a traumatic event like being left or locked in a hot van while in the care of a Houston childcare facility.
4 Steps to Follow If Your Child Was Left or Locked in a Hot Van at a Houston Daycare
Leaving a child in a hot daycare van or bus is easily preventable if daycare centers in Houston follow the strict state requirements, which includes conducting face-to-name checks upon entering and exiting a vehicle to ensure children are not left behind, especially on a hot day.
If your child was left or locked in a hot daycare van at a daycare center in Houston, your first priority is comforting your child and helping them to calm down. But what should you do next? We recommend these four steps to not only ensure your child’s health is not at risk, but also to hold the daycare accountable for the traumatic incident:
- Seek medical attention immediately by taking your child to an emergency room at Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital or Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, urgent care center, or pediatrician’s office. Depending on how long your child was in the hot daycare van, they can experience heat exhaustion or heatstroke, which can lead to a permanent disability or even death in just a matter of minutes.
- Report the incident to the state. All daycares and transportation services that are responsible for the care and safety of children in Houston are required to follow specific rules as outlined by Texas Health and Human Services. If a daycare was negligent by not following the rules and your child was left in a hot van or bus, report allegations of daycare neglect in Texas to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services by calling the Texas Abuse Hotline at 800-252-5400 or submitting a report online at TXAbuseHotline.org.
- Document any information from the incident by keeping track of all correspondence from the Houston childcare facility and its workers. Screenshot text messages and save emails discussing the incident, take pictures or make copies of any letters from the daycare or its workers, and take detailed notes of any phone calls with the daycare as they occur. While it may be overwhelming to remember these steps when you are more concerned about your child’s health and well-being, keeping a file of correspondence can benefit your family’s legal case to hold the Houston daycare accountable for leaving your child in a hot van or bus.
- Reach out to our experienced Houston daycare injury lawyers by calling 281-857-6116 or filling out a contact form. Being left in a hot van can result in significant physical and emotional trauma for your child. In fact, your family may be eligible for compensation to cover your child’s medical expenses, therapy, and other helpful mental health resources, lost wages from your job while serving as a caregiver to your child, and pain and suffering. We are ready to listen and advise your family on the best approach to hold the daycare in Houston accountable and get justice for your child’s traumatic experience and injuries. However, there is a two-year time limit for filing a personal injury claim in Texas, so reach out to our team as soon as possible.
Can I Sue a Daycare in Houston If They Left My Child in a Hot Van?
Houston families have a right to file a lawsuit to hold a daycare and relevant caregivers accountable to seek compensation, also known as damages, from the daycare center for leaving a child in a hot van or bus. The lawsuit may help your family get justice for the harm your child suffered, as well as protect other children in Houston from experiencing the same trauma. Texas laws state that the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the incident.
Houston parents may be eligible for compensation to cover:
- Emotional damages such as pain and suffering
- Lost wages from missing work to help their child heal from any injuries
- Medical expenses
- Mental anguish
In the tragic event that a child passes away because of injuries sustained while locked in a hot daycare van, Houston parents may be eligible for compensation to cover:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages from missing work to grieve the loss of a child
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages if the daycare’s gross negligence caused a child’s death
- The emotional toll of losing a loved one, especially a child
- Other unexpected expenses
It is important to speak with experienced Houston daycare injury attorneys, like our team at The Button Law Firm, who will listen and advise on the best path forward for you and your family.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Houston Daycare Injury Lawyers
Our team of experienced and compassionate Houston daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to advocating for you and your family if your child is left in a hot van or bus while in the care of a Houston daycare facility. With attorneys in Houston, we are ready to listen and fight for your family in Atascocita, Bellaire, Clear Lake, Conroe, Cypress, Deer Park, Friendswood, Humble, Jersey Village, Katy, Lake Jackson, League City, Missouri City, Pasadena, Pearland, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, and Tomball. 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 281-857-6116 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.