FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FURTHER INFORMATION:
May 25, 2000 Patricia Harris-Morehead at
(615) 313-4707 or Brenda Ramsey
at (615) 313-4778
NASHVILLE— With summer approaching, the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) is urging child care providers, parents, and other caregivers of children NOT to leave children unattended in parked vehicles at any time. Officials say the result of a child being forgotten in a car or child care van can be deadly.
"We all grieved for the families of the children who lost their lives last year and hope such careless accidents never occur again," state Human Services Commissioner Natasha Metcalf said. “To prevent such tragedies, we immediately implemented more detailed transportation rules for providers who transport children. We expect all providers and their staffs to be thoroughly familiar and trained on the procedures.”
Metcalf said she also hopes parents and caregivers will be mindful of the horrendous accidents that could occur when young children are left without adult supervision in a vehicle. "Most people want to believe that such a scenario would not happen to them or anyone they know, but it only takes a minute or less for a child to shift a gear on a car that is left with the motor running. And as demonstrated by recent incidents, it only takes a moment for a child care van driver or caregiver to get distracted and leave a child unattended.”
According to state child care transportation rules:
The department is sending a reminder notice to about 6,000 child care agencies to remind them about their responsibilities while transporting children. In addition, next month DHS plans to mail rearview mirror tags and window stickers with a reminder message to make sure all children are taken out of child care vehicles.
DHS also is requesting that the media broadcast public service announcements about the hazards of leaving small children in vehicles during extremely hot weather.
SUMMER SAFETY/Public Service Announcement: Last year, two young Tennessee children died after being left alone on child care vans on a hot summer day. Someone forgot to take them out of the vans. Please, do not take chances with the lives of children. Don't EVER leave a child alone in a vehicle; you could forget you left him there. For information on choosing Quality Child Care, please call 1 800 462-8261. This public service message is from the Tennessee Department of Human Services.