By Jonathan Safran, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
Prompted by the recent death of a four-month old Milwaukee, Wisconsin infant who was left in a child-care transport van, the State Senate and State Assembly have passed a bill which will require child-care van owners to install alarm systems in transport vehicles, necessitating van drivers to physically go through the van interior, to the back door, to disarm the alarm. See Child-Van Alarms to be Required for Safety Purposes.
It is hoped that this legislation will insure that van drivers check all seats for any remaining passengers, in order that young children or infants are not left in vans. This type of legislation was passed in other states, such as Tennessee, in 2004, where no further deaths have occurred from children being left in child-care vans. According to KidsandCars.org, a national organization working to promote automobile child safety, at least 27 children nationwide have died since 1994 as a result of being left in child-care vans. In Wisconsin, three children have died in the Milwaukee area since 2005 and seven children have died in similar situations since 1991. Although Wisconsin has laws providing for the issuance of felony charges against child-care van drivers who leave a child in a vehicle, resulting in a child’s death, it would appear that this deterrent is not sufficient. The State of Wisconsin, Department of Children and Families, also requires day cares to have procedures to make sure that children are not left behind in transport vans, however, the requirement for procedures does not spell out what exactly should be done. See Wisconsin Government Website.
It is unfortunate to think that legislation is required to insure that child-care transport van drivers and day care operators carry out the simple process of making sure that children are not left in transport vans. Parents leave the safety of their children in the hands of such people every day, and the act of leaving children behind in transport vans is not excusable. Parents need to be active in speaking with day care providers and van transport drivers to make sure that they are following procedures to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.