Haile Brockington, a 2 1/2-year-old girl, died after being left and forgotten about in her child seat in van belonging to her day care center, Katie’s Kids Learning Center of Delray Beach, Florida. Haile was trapped inside the van for nearly six hours. Haile’s death sparked a public outrage, especially when another child died in Brevard County, Florida after being left unattended in a vehicle just two weeks after Haile’s death.
Child safety advocates say there is an ongoing issue as to what to do about children being mistakenly left in vehicles. These advocates may find their answers by looking to other states that have enacted laws after facing similar tragedies. For example, Tennessee and Wisconsin require that childcare providers who transport a certain number of children must install a safety alarm in the transporting vehicle. Basically, the alarm sounds after drivers turn off the vehicle. The alarm will go off for one to four minutes requiring the driver to physically walk back to the car to turn off the alarm. If the alarm is ignored by the driver, an external car alarm kicks in, alerting passerbys that the vehicle has not been checked. If you would like to read more on this topic please see Parents and others push for safety alarms in day care vans and other vehicles.
Although the idea is simple, legislation passing laws requiring these types of alarms have faced roadblocks. In the meantime, drivers should place their briefcase, purse, or other object in the back seat, which will require the driver to check the back seat before exiting and locking their vehicles. Drivers should be aware of the major risk of hyperthermia children face. The temperature inside a vehicle can increase up to 20 degrees from the temperature outside. Also, children’s bodies do not adjust to temperature changes as well as adult bodies.