In August 2007, a daycare worker left three-year-old Demarion Pittman in a hot car for several hours.
“They didn’t follow procedure, basically. That day they went on a field trip, they came back from a field trip and the owner did not do a head count once she emptied the van. She didn’t do a head count and she ended up forgetting my son in the vehicle,” said Demarion’s mother, Edna Pittman.
The lives of Demarion Edna changed forever, with Demarion being in a coma for two months because of the incident.
“Finally, when we were able to bring him home, he was completely dependent on us. He couldn’t feed himself, he couldn’t even eat. he had a feeding tube, he was no longer potty trained, he is still nonverbal, he wasn’t walking,” Pittman said.
Eleven years later, Pittman said the struggle continues for Demarion, now 14, who is still completely non-verbal…but is improving.
“He’s no longer on a feeding tube, he attends school, as a matter of fact, he just graduated the 8th grade and he’s going to 9th grade. He’s a happy little boy,” Pittman said.
Pittman said after everything her family has been through, it breaks her heart to continue to see people make the same mistakes that day care worker made.
“I just think it’s so unfortunate and wish that people would remember when you have children in your care, I don’t care if it’s your child, your grand kids, nieces, nephews, or if you’re a daycare provider or worker, you should always double and triple check and follow those procedures. That’s why you have those procedures in place, to avoid accidents like this,” Pittman said.
Sergeant Timothy Jenkins with the Lawton Police Department says they’ve already gotten multiple calls about kids being left in hot cars this year. He suggests leaving something important, like a wallet or a purse in the back seat as a precaution.
“Same thing with your screen visor. A lot of people put screen visors up when they go in the stores to keep heat out of the car. Put it in the back seat. A lot of people want to leave it in the front seat, leave their purse in the front seat, leave their wallet in the front seat because it’s easy to get that. I understand that. But in order for you to have an easy reminder to check my backseat at all times, leave some of that stuff back there,” Jenkins said.
Pittman has some advice for anyone taking care of a kid. “When you’re caring for someone’s child, you just have to check. You have to double check, triple check,” Pittman said.
Fortunately, the temperatures haven’t gotten too terribly hot this year but as we go further into the summer they certainly will. Remember, as hot as you think it is outside, it’s likely much, much hotter inside the car, even if the windows are cracked.