WF Woman Says Her Son Was Left in Van at Afterschool Program

WICHITA FALLS - One Wichita Falls mother said her son was left in a van at an afterschool program last week, a terrifying situation she said her family will never forget.

She said this isn't the first time he was left behind, when he was just four years old and new to the center, the staff left him at the movie theater and she said in this latest situation her son could've died because of someone else's careless mistake.

Alana McDaniel said last Thursday is a day that will stick with her and her family forever, after she went to pick up her 6-year-old son at the Southside Youth Senter and the staff realized they had left him in the van.

"When we got him off the van he was saturated with sweat, visibly upset," McDaniel said.

She said they immediately took him inside to give him some water and make sure he was ok. McDaniel said according to the sign in sheet, Levi was signed in at 4 pm that day and she arrived to pick up him up around 5 meaning he was left asleep in the van for an hour.

"I had to pull over when I left the parking lot to get him calm down and get me calmed down. I could barely drive home. So, it was the scariest thing I've ever been through."

Because she said if this had happened just one day before when the temperature was 10 degrees higher, her story could have a much different ending.

"We brought the kids into our bed Thursday night and then woke up crying to them Friday morning thinking this could be a completely different situation, but those are all the what ifs that run through your head," said McDaniel. "But really, I told Travis, if anything good can come from out of this we're very very very thankful, we're very blessed that this was the situation, but if anything to just raise awareness."

And she said she and many other working parents have to rely on after school programs and she just hopes by sharing her story others who are entrusted to care for children will  be more vigilant, to ensure no other children are left behind.

McDaniel said her son Levi now attends a different after school program.

She also told me that about an hour before we met her, the president of the board of trustees for the center called her and was very sincere.

We reached out to the board, however, we have yet to hear anything back.


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