East Texas Day Care Workers Say Safeguards Will Prevent Heat Tragedies - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

06/04/03 - Tyler

East Texas Day Care Workers Say Safeguards Will Prevent Heat Tragedies

It took just a moment of carelessness.  That's what North Texas police say cost a young child his life. Locked in a van after a day care field trip. The two and a half year old boy died Tuesday morning from heat injuries. He was in a van for more than two hours after that Friday trip to a pizza restaurant. Now a pair of day care workers are charged  with a second degree felony of child endangerment.

It happened in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster. Two-and-a-half year old Alan Brown Junior was apparently left behind after the other children got out of the van. Temperatures were around 100 degrees on Friday. The boy was unconscious when found. The two day care workers will be charged with injury to a child, and the day care was still closed Tuesday. To those who take care of young kids every day... they're asking how it could have happened.

"I find it hard to believe that that can happen. I've been on field trips with the children."

After many years with her kids in day care, Dana Cotton still likes to stay close. But time makes her trust her kids' day care --First Baptist Child Development in Tyler.  They had a round of miniature golf Tuesday.

FBC Center Director Suzanne Cavender says, "Whenever we take a field trip, we take all the children's files with us. We take a first aid kit in the van."

And when the kids load or unload -- anywhere -- they have specific rules.

"There's a teacher or an adult who is on the bus with the children, then one that follows as the children get on the van. Then when we get on the van, we do the procedure in reverse," Cavender says.

That, so no one is left behind. The boy who died in Lancaster was just two-and-a-half. First Baptist never takes kids under three-and-a-half on any trip.

"If we're going to do something special for the younger children, we bring them into the center,"

Cavender says there's a very good reason.

"They're not like adults. And if you're taking really small young children, sometimes they don't talk -- to be able to communicate with you."

To find the best daycare, Dana says communication is the best way, with the center, and with other parents.

"I think you'll learn alot from word-of-mouth to hear from people and their experiences," she says.

In addition to the supervision and head-counts... First Baptist has every child in a white t-shirt with the center's logo. Plus, to help combat the heat Tuesday, they had plenty of drinks... and ice cream sandwiches.

In an experiment Tuesday afternoon, we put a thermometer inside a closed car for just 15 minutes.  In that time, the temperature exceeded 110F.

Reported by Morgan Palmer

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