Infant dies after being left inside day care van in Florida

Outdoor temperature reaches 92 degrees

By Amanda Jackson and Jamiel Lynch, CNN
WJXT via CNN

A Florida daycare co-owner was arrested after an infant child died in the facility's van.

(CNN) - A Florida day care center that cared for an infant who died Wednesday after she was left in a hot van failed to notify state officials it was transporting children, the Department of Children and Families said Thursday.

The lack of notification means the state DCF couldn't monitor the transportation standards of Ewing's Love and Hope Preschool and Academy in Jacksonville, the agency said.

Child care programs that transport children are mandated to follow standards including using only approved drivers and maintaining various logs, DCF said.

"Every day, parents entrust child care providers with their most precious gifts. Tragically, a family has just been notified of the gut-wrenching loss of their precious baby girl," DCF Secretary Chad Poppell said.

Around 1 p.m., police responded to a call about an unresponsive baby. The months-old infant was found in a car seat inside a day care van. She was transported to the hospital, where she died.

CNN affiliate WJXT reported the infant was 4 months old.

The co-owner of the Ewing's Love and Hope Preschool and Academy, Darryl Ewing, 56, was arrested Wednesday night for child neglect. Ewing appeared in court Thursday morning and was ordered held on a $75,000 bond. If he posts bond, he was ordered not to have any contact with children.

Ewing's Duvall County public defender couldn't be reached Thursday.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Assistant Chief Brian Kee told CNN that preliminary information shows she was in the van from around 8 a.m. till the call came in.

Temperatures in the area reached as high as 92 degrees on Wednesday, according to CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen.

Kee said the day care facility uses the van to pick up some children in the morning, and it was a day care worker's responsibility to make sure all children were out of the van.

According to the center's website, it opened in 2015 and have programs ranging from after-school care for school age children to care for infants beginning at 6 weeks old.

CNN called the facility. The person who answered had no comment.

The center cares for around 14 children, and no others were injured, Kee said.

On average, 38 children die each year in hot cars, according to the safety organization Kids and Cars. That's about one death every nine days. Last year the fatalities were the highest recorded with 52 deaths. Between 1998 and 2018, Florida had the second highest deaths with 88, according to NoHeatStroke.org.

The investigation into the death continues.

CNN's Danielle Hackett and Darran Simon contributed to this report.

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