PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) - A 2-year-old girl was left alone and scared inside a day care center in Plantation.
Stephanie Martinez’s frantic 911 call captured the moments after she realized her daughter has been left alone inside the KinderCare Learning Center along West Sunrise Boulevard, Wednesday.
911 Dispatcher: “911, what is the address of the emergency?”
Stephanie Martinez: “She’s inside the day care, she just came up to the door.”
911 Dispatcher: “She’s inside by herself?”
Stephanie Martinez: “Yeah, she’s crying. She’s inside by herself.”
Martinez said the staff at the day care left her daughter Anna in danger inside the locked facility.
“They know I get here around 6, 6:15, because I have to pick up my other son by 6. I get here, everything’s shut off, no cars, which is weird,” she said.
She called her friend Samantha Scaramellino, who is Anna’s emergency contact.
“She’s was like, ‘do you know where Anna is?’ I’m like, ‘no.’ She’s like, ‘I’m at the school, no ones here.’ My heart dropped,” said Scaramellino.
Scaramellino advised Martinez to call the police and take steps to ensure her daughter was inside.
“Bang on every window. See if you hear anything. See if you hear crying,” said Scaramellino.
Martinez said she began pounding on the windows.
“Finally, I heard something. [Anna] managed to push a chair next to the door to stand on it and call for my name, and that was the only reason that I was able to see her, is because she’s shorter than the door. She got on the chair to say, ‘Mommy,’” said Martinez.
Looking through the glass at her 2-year-old, Martinez called 911.
“The poor kid. Honey, I’m coming, OK,” she said Martinez during the 911 call.
911 Dispatcher: “OK, honey, how old is your child?”
Stephanie Martinez: “She’s 2. She’s only 2.”
911 Dispatcher: “Gosh.”
Stephanie Martinez: “I’m coming, baby, OK? I’m coming.”
Fire rescue crews arrived and pried the door open to get the toddler out.
“What if she fell off the table? You know, she used a chair to get by the door. Like, she’s traumatized. Last night I couldn’t turn off the light; she started crying,” said Martinez.
School officials told Martinez the incident happened due to short staffing.
“Everyone’s short-staffed, but that’s not an excuse. This is a child,” Martinez said.
KinderCare released a statement that read in part: “We also placed the staff members involved on administrative leave while we, and our agency partners, look into the concern further. As these investigations take place, we’ll also take immediate steps to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”
Parents reacted to the incident Thursday.
“I’ve had a good experience with them. I haven’t had any issues whatsoever,” said Makarena Napoleon. “I have my 2-year-old.”
One parent just enrolled her child before learning of the incident.
“I’m definitely gonna have a conversation with the school,” said the parent.
“It’s gonna be hard to find a new day care that I can trust. I trusted them,” Martinez said.
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