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By Joel Currier
Wednesday, Aug. 08 2007

A 3-year-old boy was left alone in a sweltering day care van parked near the St. Louis Science Center for more than an hour Tuesday, a day temperatures later soared to 100 degrees for the first time this year, officials said.

The boy was on a field trip to the Science Center with about 30 other children while under supervision of the Ferguson-based Happy Go Lucky Child Care Center, said the Science Center’s Marti Cortez, who leads the Visitor Experience Division.

The group from the day care center had arrived at the Science Center in two vans between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., Cortez said. About noon, a pedestrian spotted the boy inside a red van parked on Oakland Avenue near the Science Center and alerted authorities, police and Cortez said.

"It just appeared to be an accident—an oversight on their part," Cortez said.

Science Center staff were notified of the forgotten boy and paged the day care center’s leaders immediately, Cortez said. Police and paramedics arrived and took the boy to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for evaluation.

The boy’s injuries were not considered life-threatening.

"He appeared to be just really scared," Cortez said.

Police questioned and released a 24-year-old woman in connection with the incident. Police said they planned to apply for arrest warrants today.

No one at the Happy Go Lucky Child Care Center could be reached for comment Tuesday night. | 314-340-8126