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What are the Legal Rights When a Child Dies Under the Supervision of a Day Care Center? Hot Car and Hot Van Deaths

By, David Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer

Teddy-Bear-300x289In Arkansas and other States, children enrolled in day care centers and other summer programs are at risks for injury and death during transportation and services.  There is a simple way to prevent these hot car deaths and hot van deaths from taking place.  In fact, these injuries and deaths can be avoided with a watch eye, clipboard, attendance list, and a pen.  It is vital that all day center providers and summer camps take roll call whenever the van, bus, or vehicle is loaded or unloaded.  All children must be accounted for at all times.  Furthermore, whenever a bus, van, or other mode of transportation is stopped without supervision onboard and without proper ventilation and air conditioning, there should be a physical and verbal sweep of the bus, van, or vehicle to make sure that all children are off the bus.  What happens when a child is left on a bus, van, or other vehicle during periods of warm or hot weather?  Well, the headlines speak for themselves when there is a report of yet another hot van or hot bus death involving a school, summer camp or day care center.

In West Memphis, Arkansas, it was reported that 5 year boy (Christopher Gardner Junior) died as a result of being left in a day care center van. It was reported that the temperature in the van once the vehicle was turned off reached 141 degrees Fahrenheit.  Tragically, Christopher was left on the van for 8 hours when he was finally located in the afternoon.  Certainly, this was a tragic event and day for Christopher’s family, extended family, friends, neighbors, and the community.  It was also reported that Christopher was signed into the facility in the morning.  It would appear that this was done without truly accounting for Christopher’s whereabouts.  Again, a watchful eye, attentiveness, and the dedicated use of a roll call list whether with pen and paper or an iPad or other electronic device would have avoid the tragic consequences as reported in West Memphis.

When a child is enrolled in a day care center, it is the rightful expectation 0f parents that the child will be supervised in a safe educational environment free of dangers and harm.  A day care center cannot be held accountable every time a child is injured without some showing or proof of negligence; however, a day care center can be held accountable, be sued, and be made to pay compensation to a family of an injured child or deceased child in the wake of negligence, carelessness, and / or reckless conduct.

Personal injury attorney David Wolf is a recognized child safety and injury advocate who has authored over 4,000 articles and has been interviewed by Time Magazine.  He is the author of 11 books including the book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

A factor to consider when evaluating any day care center legal case is the amount and extent of the liability insurance in place.  Certainly, no amount of money can every replace a child.  Furthermore, no amount of money can compensate a child and his or her family for suffering and pain resulting from negligent or careless conduct; however, a civil case against a day care center, child care center, or summer camp can be brought to seek compensation of some form.  If there is a corresponding criminal case, there can be fines, probation, and yes, prison terms handed down when a child is put in harm’s way.

Whenever a child is injured in a day care center or during activities / transportation monitored by a day care center, parents should seek out legal advice, guidance, and representation.  As a child injury lawyer and advocate, David Wolf firmly believes in Giving a Voice to Injured Children and Their Families