When our research began on heatstroke deaths among children, we came across one name enough times that its unusual moniker was easily recognizable. We assumed (correctly, and unfortunately) that it was a victim of vehicular heatstroke.
When we dove deeper for this particular tragedy, we eventually found a mother's story:
Sophia Rayne “Ray Ray” Cavaliero died on May 25, 2011 from hyerthermia after being forgotten, asleep in the backseat.
The routine change that morning?
The family all slept in, causing a chain reaction that resulted in a different person than usual driving their daughter to daycare. And while "Ray Ray" dozed silently in the backseat, her father drove past the turn for daycare and continued on to work.
Her mother,Kristie C. Reeves-Cavaliero, began advocacy work in earnest to help prevent any further tragedies like what befell her family.
They created Ray-Ray's Pledge, a joint effort with the Austin chapter of SafeKids.org.
And what is Ray-Ray's pledge?
It's a parent's promise to "notify the childcare provider in advance if a child will be late or absent, or if someone else will be dropping him/her off" and to "inform the childcare provider of any changes in emergency contact information."
It's also a childcare provider's pledge to "call if a child doesn’t arrive by his/her usual drop-off time" and to "periodically check with parents to update emergency contact information."
Reeves-Cavaliero makes an excellent point in an interview with HealthyMothersHealthyBabies Coalition:
"There are several safety mechanisms in place to protect kids from being picked up at the end of the day by unauthorized individuals, but we seem to have overlooked the importance of safe drop-offs and knowing the child’s whereabouts in the morning."
With their daughter's preschool already implementing the pledge cards at the time of the article (2012), we earnestly hope more schools and daycares will adopt Ray-Ray's Pledge.
We've recently brought Ray-Ray's Pledge to our daycare. Tell us if your local schools or daycares have made Ray-Ray's Pledge!
If they haven't, will you help them promote it?
SafeKids.org provided this email address for help: firstname.lastname@example.org
Will you take Ray-Ray's Pledge?