Pearland mother angry after daycare leaves child in van for nearly an hour

A Pearland mother is in disbelief after she says a daycare facility left her 5-year-old alone in the company van outside for nearly an hour.  

The mother, who chose to remain anonymous, says surveillance video at The Learning Experience reviewed by police, shows the child was inside of the vehicle for a total of 56 minutes. 

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The facility initially told her it was only five to six minutes. 

"Instead of them coming out to me, the manager came out and asked me to come inside," says the boy's mother. "She told me my son didn't get off of the van when they got there. He was asleep. They didn't realize he was asleep. She told me they got inside, did a headcount, and realized they were short one kid."

The mother tells FOX 26 the manager says they found the child in the van, brought him inside, and gave him some water to drink. 

"When we got home, he told me that he was in the van for six minutes," says the mom. "Him having no concept of time, just made me think twice." 

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Shortly after she called the police, a Pearland officer showed up to the facility to investigate the incident. The officer told the mother video shows a parent who was coming to pick up their own child spotted the 5-year-old inside of the van, and ran inside to alert the staff.  

FOX 26 reached out to The Learning Experience - a franchise with multiple locations in Houston, Texas, and across the United States. 

James Szwiec, a spokesperson for the facility, issued this statement: 

"We are aware of an incident that occurred at the independently owned and franchise-operated location in Pearland. While fortunately no one was harmed, this incident is not in accordance with our corporate policies, procedures and brand standards. We are currently reviewing all information relating to this incident and complying with local authorities. The Learning Experience is committed to providing a safe environment for our children and families, and that will always remain our highest priority."


Requests made to The Learning Experience for details about the facilities' safety protocols were left unanswered. 

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services says cases like this are often reported to their office. 

Child Protective Services investigates allegations of neglect at daycare facilities, and the Health and Human Services Department has the authority to impose penalties based on the outcome of their investigation.

"DFPS will investigate whether or not abuse or neglect occurred in this case," says DFPS spokesperson Melissa Lanford. 

"Findings from our investigation will be turned over to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the state agency that licenses and regulates daycare in Texas."