It's every parent's worst nightmare that something goes wrong at daycare. I can't imagine what the phone call was like that April McAlistar of Atlanta, Georgia received yesterday. Her 2-year-old daughter, Jasmine, was found dead in the daycare van after having been left there, asleep between the seats, for two hours in humid 90-degree weather. It's likely that the closed van reached 135 degrees within 15 minutes of being shut off.
The children and staff of Marlo's Magnificent Early Learning Center were returning from a trip to a local Chuck E. Cheese when Jasmine fell asleep on the ride back to the daycare center. The supervisors overlooked her when ushering the children back inside, and it took them three hours to discover she was missing. At that point it was too late.
Jasmine's mother said she knew something was wrong when her phone rang -- the daycare told her to go to the hospital where she was informed that her daughter had died of cardiac arrest. Jasmine's parents are of course beside themselves with grief and want justice to be served.
The parents told Fox 5 Atlanta that Jasmine learned to walk and talk at the daycare center, and like almost every parent, assumed it was a safe place to leave their daughter and 4-year-old son. Today, police arrested three of the daycare staff and charged them with cruelty to children, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless conduct.
Every summer we all read about an infant or young child who loses their life after being left in a car. It happened just last week in South Carolina when a father left his son in the car. Whether it's intentional (as in, parents don't think they're doing anything dangerous) or not (as in Jasmine's case), it's a cruel and sad reminder that sometimes even the most innocuous or careless of actions can turn deadly.
On average, 38 children die every year from being left alone in hot cars, and last year, 49 deaths occurred. A child's body temperature increases three times faster than that of an adult, which makes them incredibly susceptible to heat-related deaths.
My heart goes out to Jasmine's family.
Do you think the daycare should be shut down permanently?
Photo via My Fox 5 Atlanta