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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Protecting Our Children Is Everyone’s Business

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If your child is one of nearly 13 million under the age of six who spend some of their day in childcare, do you know everything you should about the facility’s safety standards? According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least two-thirds of the 220 licensed programs they visited across the country had safety hazards in one or more of these areas. Often times, these deficiencies have led to serious injuries or death.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has confirmed an emergency order to shut down the Lil Kings and Queens Day Care Center indefinitely, after a two-year-old was found dead in a day care SUV on April 18. According to documents, an employee of the cay care picked up the toddle from his home that morning. Officials said it was nearly four hours later when two elementary school children discovered the boy inside a vehicle in the carpool line at Gutermuth Elementary. The coroner said the cause of death was “consistent with hyperthermia.” April 18 was the hottest day in Louisville so far this year at 87 degrees. The investigation is ongoing.

The day care has been cited in the past four years, according to the CHFS. In the most recent investigation six months ago, the state’s findings showed that the day care failed to maintain adequate supervision or receive proper background checks in accordance with regulations. It is believed if procedures were in place, this tragic accident would not have happened. Officials said the facility is licensed to care for 54 children. The child’s mother said the day care was run by her aunt.

While the overwhelming majority of daycare available in the United States is provided by responsible and trustworthy establishments, situations like this still exists. The key to improving safety at all child care centers is to improve awareness. When selecting a day care for your child be proactive in your search and ask a lot of questions before enrolling a loved one. According to the CPSC, check the center – inside and out. Inquire what measures they employ to prevent accidents and how they plan to keep your child safe. Ask about the extent of education and training of all personnel interacting with your children, and determine if they were screened for criminal history, emotional instability, or substance abuse. Make sure there are enough staff members to adequately supervise the children. This will eliminate many less than desirable programs from your list and also help determine which one has your child’s best interest at heart.

But, this tragedy is not just about the negligence of a day care and one of its employees. It also brings to light the dangers of leaving children in cars. According to the National Safety Council, infants and young children left inside a vehicle can die of hyperthermia in a few hours, even when the temperature outside is not especially hot. Only with stricter laws and increased awareness can we stop these preventable tragedies. It is not hard to do a simple checklist or walk the bus checking in and under every seat. A caregiver transporting children should also count the number of children getting into the vehicle and log their names. When the children arrive at the day care center, they should be counted again, looking at each when doing so. Vigilance is the best way to prevent such tragedies. For more information on the dangers and how to prevent them, visit kidsandcars.org, a safety advocacy group that promotes the highest level of awareness among parents, caregivers, and the public with safety messages to help keep kids safe in or around motor vehicles.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.