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There had already been 31 children killed in hot cars in the United States this year, four in Florida alone. So you would think that day care workers, who are explicitly responsible for the safety of children in their care, would be especially careful about transporting children.
But one day care driver in the Orlando area allegedly didn't count the children entering or exiting the van they were driving, making three-year-old Miles Hill the fifth Florida child to die of heat exposure in a vehicle. And local police say criminal charges may be filed.
"This was an absolute tragedy that could have been prevented," Police Chief John Mina told reporters this week, but said exact charges would not be filed until after the child's autopsy was complete. According to authorities, the driver transported children from one day care location to another around nine in the morning, and then returned the van to the original location. Hill's body was discovered in the van around 6:30 that night, when his legal guardian called after he had not returned home. The high temperature in Orlando that day was reportedly 93 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clearly, the day care driver (who has yet to be identified) may be charged with child negligence. Florida statutes define the crime as:
A caregiver's failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child.
And in a shockingly similar case from 2010, a day care driver was charged with aggravated manslaughter after failing to check all the seats of a van she was driving, ultimately leaving a child in the van for over six hours before she was finally discovered.
According to CNN, the day care responsible for Hill, Little Miracles Academy, has previously been cited for violations regarding personnel records, supervision, and transportation. Just last month, the center was cited for failing to log destination and arrival times and location when transporting the children.
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