Childhood experts push 'Ray Ray's Pledge'

ST. LOUIS – Studies show most children who die in hot cars are left there because their parents forgot to drop them off at daycare.

That's what happened to Brett Cavaliero. He went to work and forgot his 1-year-old daughter, Sophia Rain, who they called Ray Ray, was in the backseat. By the time he realized his mistake, three hours later, it was too late.

Cavaliero and his wife want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else, so they started Ray Ray's Pledge.

"It's a dual commitment to safety surrounding that drop off time between parents and teachers at the childcare center where the parent will call if the child is going to be late or absent for any reason but should a child not arrive on time that parent will call one or both parents immediately to determine that child's whereabouts," said Ray Ray's mom.

A local educator believes a phone call from school can save a young person's life and wants to be an advocate for Ray Ray's Pledge to end child heatstroke.

Steve Zwolak is Executive director of the University City Children's Center and CEO of the Lume Institute, which promotes innovative thinking in early childhood education. He is currently consulting with the brand new Flance Early Learning Center in St. Louis, open just one month.

When told of the Ray Ray Pledge to get pre-schools to call parents when a child is absent from school, Zwolak says he hopes to become part of the initiative.

"I think it's a simple action that would take a school probably 10 minutes a day, and 10 minutes can save a life," he said.

Previously, The Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center had not been calling the parents of pre-kindergarten students when a child was absent. Principal Cyndi Hevenstreit says that will change with the upcoming school year, when pre-kindergarten parents will get a call from school.

"What my hope would be is again we are staying more connected to our families and helping them through making this simple phone call," said Hevenstreit.

NewsChannel 5 parked our car in the sun, and within about 10 minutes the thermometer already approached 120 degrees. That's the reason there's a movement to protect children in cars from heatstroke.


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