Child left in hot van at Hermitage Dance Academy

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HERMITAGE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Frantic moments after a child is left in a van at a popular Hermitage dance studio.  

It happened Wednesday afternoon around 4:20 p.m.

The parents told News 2 the child had fallen asleep inside a dance van on the way from school to the studio off Lebanon Pike. 

According to medics, the student is only 3 years old. Fortunately, he is doing ok.  

“You know 99 degrees this time in October, very unusual, extremely hot and it doesn’t take long for it to get even hotter inside a car” Meteorologist Mary Mays explained.  

It was a day of record-setting heat when medics responded to in the parking lot of Hermitage Dance Academy off of Lebanon Pike. The caller says the child was left in the van for some time.  

“Within just a few minutes within 10 minutes it can increase by 20 degrees inside of a car,” Mays explained.  

The owner of the dance academy told News 2 in part,  “Unfortunately our primary protocol of getting kids from the van into the studio failed. Luckily, we had a secondary protocol in place allowing us to catch the mistake quickly in getting the child inside with no harm.” 

EMT’s on the scene gave the young child the all clear, but it was no doubt a frightening moment for all involved.  

“Body temperature for a child to start getting into that heatstroke is about 104 degrees so that’s their internal temperature and it’s not that hard to reach that when it’s so much hotter inside the car. At 107 degrees with their internal body temperature around that, that’s when it becomes deadly very, very quickly,” said Mays.  

Forty-eight children have died this year after being left in hot cars and seven of those were in just the last 15 days, according to the advocacy group KidsandCars.org.  

The parents of the child released the following statement to News 2: 

“Our child was picked up from school, then fell asleep en route to HDA. Our child was left in the vehicle for a very short time, but because of the procedures HDA had in place the mistake was figured out very quickly. They were prompt in examining our child and in notifying us. While this was a serious incident, our child is happy and unharmed, and HDA has implemented additional procedures to ensure this does not happen again. Our children have consistently been well cared for in the hands of HDA. We would still recommend this facility to anyone looking for instruction or aftercare, and we have multiple children enrolled in the program.” 

Hermitage Dance Academy released the following statement to News 2: 

“Unfortunately our primary protocol of getting kids from the van into the studio failed. Luckily, we had a secondary protocol in place allowing us to catch the mistake quickly in getting the child inside with no harm. EMTs on the scene gave the child the all clear. We have spoken to the family extensively regarding this matter and have assured them that this incident will not happen again. We have further adjusted our protocol to ensure the safety of our children moving forward. The family is “happily” enrolled at HDA and will be continuing with our programs. Mistakes happen, but we have taken this opportunity to enhance our protocols and make our program stronger and more efficient.” 

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