Police stress importance of backseat-checks after child dies from being left in car

EPD offers insight to help prevent hot car deaths

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The USI Children’s Learning Center will remain closed for the rest of the week as employees grieve the loss of a 3-year old boy, who died after being left in a hot car.

Deputies say Oliver Dill’s father forgot to drop him off at the daycare on Tuesday. The Sheriff says when Dill left to pick up the child later in the day he realized the 3-year-old was still in the car seat.

We spoke with law enforcement on Wednesday about the tragic accident. They stress the importance of parents and caregivers making backseat-checks part of their busy routine.

“This is the first case in our community that I know of, but it is always good to be thinking about those things," explains EPD Sgt. Jason Cullum. "And when these events do happen, it does spark the community conversation and if one of those conversations helps somebody else then that is the goal of this.”

What first responders arrived to at USI on Tuesday is something that hits home to many.

“Most of our officers are parents," Sgt. Cullum stated. "So when we deal with incidents where children are involved, that is always more difficult to deal with as a police officer, as a firefighter or paramedic.”

Most people know not to intentionally leave children in a car no matter the season. But the reality of this situation, perhaps a lapse in memory, could happen to anyone.

“The amount of distractions that are now present in everything that we do, simply having dinner at a restaurant with your family is different than it was 10-years ago because everyone is on their phone," said Sgt. Cullum. "In your vehicle, if you’re not on your cell phone, there’s a lot of things technology based things in your car that weren’t there 10 years ago.”

But in the middle of all the distractions parents must find a reminder that cuts through.

“We’ve heard a lot about different things that people should do to prevent this from happening, but the reality is, it’s a rare case and that is why when it does happen, it is such a tragedy,” Sgt. Cullum said.

Sgt. Cullum says you have to find what you believe will work best for you.

“If somebody is taking that child that maybe that is not their normal routine, the spouse that normally takes them, touch base with them; say, ‘hey how did the drop off go at daycare? Were their friends there?’" explains Sgt. Cullum. "Questions like that, so there’s things that can be done.”

Experts say there is no concrete, fool proof way to always remind yourself. You just have to take a look at your specific routine and ask yourself what would best remind you to always check your car for your kids.

USI is offering counseling services for any staff who needs them. The Children’s Learning Center will remain closed the rest of the week.

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