Three-year-old Myles Hill was forgotten by a Florida daycare driver in a van and died of heatstroke, authorities said.
The daycare in question, Little Miracles Academy in Orlando, Florida, has two locations. In a press conference, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the unidentified driver was transporting children from one location to the other, but failed to drop off all the children. The employee returned to the first location, parked the van and left around 9 a.m., forgetting that Myles was still in the back.
Mina said that when Myles did not return home on Monday evening, his grandmother called both the police and the daycare. According to Mina, police arrived and “began working a missing child investigation” while a worker checked the van at the daycare. The boy’s body was discovered on the floor of the van and police were called to the scene.
Though the daycare worker who drove the van was very “distraught” and “cooperative,” Mina confirmed that “criminal charges are pending.” The worker “did admit to not doing a headcount,” said Mina, which led to the child being left in the van "all day."
Little Miracles Academy has been cited five times for safety violations by the Florida Department of Children and Family in the last two years, according to News 6. In July, records show the daycare was noted as being in non-compliance for failing to include the following information in their transportation log: “destination time, arrival time, destination location and departure location.”
News 6 reported that a sign on the daycare's door said it was closed until further notice.
Mina stressed the importance of taking extra care when transporting children. He suggested putting a shoe, purse, cellphone, or similar essential item in the back with the child “so that tragedies like this can be avoided.”
According to NoHeatstroke.org, 32 children have been killed by heatstroke this year after being left in vehicles, five of them in Florida. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash related vehicle fatalities for children 14 and younger in the U.S. In the first six months of 2017, 26 children nationwide died of heatstroke after being left in a car, and 720 children have died since 1998.
The most recent death on a school bus related to a driver forgetting the student occurred in September 2015. More than 700 children have died over the last 20 years from heatstroke after being left or trapped in a hot vehicle. That incident prompted a state law in California that requires all school buses be equipped with child reminder technology for post-trip inspections by the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
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