Last week in Houston, a 3-year-old boy died after day care employees left him in a van for more than three and a half hours in 113-degree heat, a heartbreaking loss that could have been prevented, officials said.
The death of the child, Raymond Pryer Jr., after a field trip on Thursday stunned Texans, raising questions about the day care’s safety procedures and prompting the police to warn the public about the dangers of hot cars.
“This is just one more incident where something that shouldn’t have happened, happened,” Assistant Chief Bobby Dobbins of the Houston Police Department told reporters on Friday. “And it ended tragically.”
On Thursday night, Alan Rosen, the constable of Precinct 1 in Harris County, called the death “gross negligence” and said it was avoidable.
Choosing a care provider is one of the most difficult decisions that parents have to make, and many of the options available to Americans are either unaffordable or inadequate. While it is not always clear whether a day care center is likely to be negligent, there are several precautions parents can take to help ensure that their child remains safe.
Examine state records.
Most states, like Texas, provide easily accessible online records that detail the violations found at licensed child care facilities.
According to state records, the day care center that Raymond attended, the Discovering Me Academy, was cited for a violation in 2015 because at least one of its vans had not been equipped with an electronic child safety alarm. The day care also received a citation that year because a caregiver overseeing children during nap time did not know the exact number of children present, and in one case, a caregiver was overseeing more children than permitted by the required caregiver-to-child ratio.