Hyperthermia kills toddler

These are called “Never” events: an event that is so catastrophic that the goal is for it to never, ever, happen, – ever. Through a mix-up in communication, a toddler was forgotten for 3 hours in a car in Florida, suffered, and died.

Each parent took a separate car to drop off the 3 children – each parent overlooked the toddler in the car, and the result was a painful accidental death.  Now that childhood disease have been brought under control, accidents are now the leading cause of death for children 5 and under.

A Delivery Protocol could have alerted the parents that they had forgotten the toddler in the car. Protocols are also called Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)  because they are standard and should happen each and every time. Failure to follow them puts people at risk.  In this case the parents could have been parked near each other texting – (which could seem absurd,(but people do text each other in close proximity all the time), but in this case it could have saved a life.

Delivery Protocol example:  Father texts to mother:  “Dropped off Stevie.”
Mother texts to father: “Stevie, check.  Dropped off Maddie and Gemma”
Father replies back to mother:  “Roger, Maddie and Gemma.”

All three children would have been accounted for.  As it was, there was no accountability after the drop-off, and the mistake wasn’t discovered until 3 hours later when it was too late.

Obviously, Delivery Protocols would be used most often when one parent is dropping off the child, or children, and the other adult is in a different location.   The parent dropping-off would send a verification text to the other parent (or in the case of single parents, to another person concerned with the child’s well-being, ie. grandparent, friend, etc.  It would be to the same person every time).  If the second parent never receives a text, they would then text for information: “Were you dropping off the baby?  Waiting to hear from you.”  Two motivated adults would use the opportunity to hold each other accountable for the expected drop-off.