Another tragedy in South Florida. On Monday, July 29, 2019, a two year old boy was found dead after being left in a van outside of a daycare center. The toddler had been picked up by the van from Ceressa’s Daycare and Pre-School in Oakland Park. He had been picked up early that morning and apparently never got out of the van when they arrived to the Daycare Center. An employee of the Daycare Center noticed the body of the boy in the van at about 3pm and called authorities. He was pronounced dead in the van.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, young children are at a high risk of dying from heat stroke because “their body’s heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults”. This means a sealed vehicle can turn deadly in as quickly as ten minutes. KidsinCars.org, tracks these horrific incidents. They reported that this was the fourth child in Florida to die this year from being left in a vehicle and the 24th to die nationwide. The Broward Sheriff’s Office is determining whether to bring criminal manslaughter charges in the death of the two year old.
Although not the case here, often times there’s a parent who forgets their child in the car. When this occurs some parents are not charged, some are charged with felonies, like involuntary man slaughter and others still are charged with misdemeanor like child endangerment. According to Amber Rawlings the Director of KidsinCars.org. “All and all there’s no rhyme or reason to how these cases are treated”. The Organization has identified 494 deaths involving caregivers who said they were not aware and had left their children in hot cars. Forty-three percent of those cases resulted in no charges being filed. Thirty-two percent, found that the caregiver was charged and convicted and in eleven percent of the cases, charges were brought however the judge or jury did not convict the caregiver, the remaining fourteen percent are still open cases with status “unknown”.
The Broward Sherriff’s Office, issued warrants to look into the Ceressa’s Daycare Center Van in which the child’s body was found. To date, the BSO has not announced charges or named anyone involved in the child’s death. The BSO investigators sought to collect “documents with kids pick up and drop off information and additionally took a DNA swab inside the interior door of the van.
Given the scorching summer temperatures in South Florida, it is unsafe to leave a child in an unattended vehicle for any period of time. These deaths are 100% preventable if the caregivers simply take the appropriate steps and measures to ensure the van/vehicle is unoccupied at the time it parks.
For over 20 years, David R. Heffernan, has been an advocate for those injured due to negligence including medical malpractice, wrongful death, personal injury, automobile and trucking accidents, pharmaceutical and products liability and premises liability. He has obtained numerous seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients and is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation for their injuries.