ST. AMANT, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Education revoked the license of A-Z Kidzzone Daycare and Learning Center in Ascension Parish after a child was left alone in a hot van following a field trip, and the center failed to report the incident to the child’s parents and to the appropriate state agencies. On Friday, July 26, representatives from the daycare filed an appeal against that decision.
Department officials say they received a complaint on June 19 that a child was left alone in a hot van owned by the center for an undetermined amount of time following a field trip to a local water park. The child was able to unlock the vehicle, exit it, walk to the front of the early learning center, and knock on the door to be let inside. In a Facebook post from the child’s mother, she said the daycare gave her child cold towels, water, and ice to cool her down. She said the daycare told us the child was unsupervised for about 20 minutes. “Whether or not she was locked in that entire time, or if that is even an accurate estimate of time,” she wrote.
According to the WAFB First Alert Weather Team, temperatures reached 93 degrees in the area on June 19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the temperature inside a car can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open. Children left unattended in parked cars are at the greatest risk for heat stroke and possibly death, the CDC reports.
“We could be planning our child’s funeral right now instead of her birthday party,” the mother’s post read.
In a list of inspection visits, the Department of Education lists an attendance violation for A-Z Kidz Zone on February 5 of this year.
“The center’s daily attendance record for children did not accurately reflect the children on the child care premises at any given time as 53 children were present and 86 children were signed in on the log. S1 stated that the before school children had not been signed out after leaving to rider the center van," the report states.
In the June 19 incident, the center additionally did not comply with rules dictating that they report the incident within 24 hours to the department’s Division of Licensing and to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, which investigates instances of possible child abuse and neglect.
Furthermore, department officials say the center failed to obtain and maintain signed parent authorization for the field trip, record the names of the children, staff and drivers traveling in each van who attended the field trip, and conduct a visual passenger check and a face-to-name count during any part of the field trip.
The daycare will be allowed to remain open during the appeals process which will be managed by the Division of Administrative Law.