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Florida family sues day care for wrongful death of son

A Florida day care center is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after a 4-year-old child in its care was found dead after being strapped into an SUV for more than two hours. The boy died due to hyperthermia after day care workers forgot he was in the vehicle. The lawsuit, filed by the child's parents, argues that the day care put the boy and seven other children in the SUV because it was over capacity and did not want to incur violations from state inspectors.

The day-care, which has since closed, is currently under criminal investigation. Prosecutors have not yet filed any charges in connection with the death.

The plaintiffs allege that their son and other children were regularly taken away from the facility with the express purpose of avoiding inspectors, a practice they say they were never informed of. While the wrongful death lawsuit may give them compensation they need for funeral and medical expenses, they argued that the case will do little to stem a larger problem. Their attorney explained, "We don't have the power to put someone out of business or to regulate the industry or bring about justice to those responsible."

The case closely mirrors that of another Florida incident in 2010, in which a 2-year-old girl was killed after being locked in a van outside of her day care center, as well as the death of a 22-month-old boy who died in the same way in July. The recent death marks the 16th such incident in the U.S. this year.

The first case prompted a Florida state senator to introduce a bill that would require commercial day care facilities to install an alarm that would prevent similar incidents in the future. However, Florida legislators failed to pass the bill into law.

Source: McClatchy, "Suit alleging wrongful death of Fla. child left in day-care SUV promotes law," Julie K. Brown, Aug. 11, 2012


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