Child Locked in Day-Care Van for Hours

A mother wants changes made

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    NEWSLETTERS

    "I'm still stressed.  I'm still shaky about it," Renee Zau said while talking about what happened on Tuesday.

    Zau says her 6-year-old son was picked up from school, as usual, by a van from the Boys and Girls Club of San Dieguito's Polster branch, where he spends the afternoon, until he can be picked up to go home.

    6-Year-Old Boy Found Locked in Van

    [DGO] 6-Year-Old Boy Found Locked in Van
    Renee Zau's son fell asleep and woke up forgotten outside a youth recreation club. (Published Thursday, May 19, 2011)

    However, when his ride arrived to pick up the child, no one knew where he was.

    "They really could not remember seeing him all afternoon, and they started asking the children he plays with, and they hadn't either," said Zau, "Was he kidnapped?  Did someone come in and take him?"

    She said staff members and other adults looked for the child for about 20 minutes before finding him locked inside the van, crying. 

    The child's mother said it appears the child fell asleep in the van on the way to the Boys and Girls club, and the driver did not notice before parking, and locking the van.

    "He was overheated.  He was sweaty.  He had been crying," said Darryl Rettig, the mother's boyfriend, who was there when the child was found.

    Tuesday was a cool day, with on and off rain.  Renee Zau said she does not want to think about how much worse this could have been on a hot summer day.

    "I thank my lucky stars that it happened on the day it did," she said. "I don't want it to happen to anybody else."

    She wanted to speak about the incident in hopes this organization and others who care for children will review their policies.

    The Boys and Girls Club of San Dieguito released a statement: "The safety of our children is our number one priority," said CEO Keith Padgett, "This is an unfortunate incident and we apologized to the parents."

    Padgett went on to say there were steps in place to account for the kids, but that those may not have been followed.  He says within 24 hours of the incident, the organization had made changes to its checklist policy, and stepped up its efforts to make sure every child is accounted for at all times.

    "We take this very seriously," he said.

    Renee Zau says her son is doing fine, and was just a little shaken up after the incident.  She says she's not sure whether she will send him back to the after school program.

    "I feel so bad for my son because he loves that facility," she says, "I hope my son knows it was not his fault at all."