In Loving Memory
River Lyn Nicole Jackson
January 21, 2012 – August 31, 2014
Our beautiful daughter, River Lyn Nicole, lost her life being trapped inside our family van parked in our driveway on August 31st, 2014, the hottest day of that month with temperatures in the lower 90s. She was two and a half years old. The details on how she got there still remain unclear. After the investigation was complete the police officials made a statement indicating that she was unintentionally forgotten by her daddy with all the chaos of getting four other children out of our van along with some food. Our family, on the other hand, strongly believe she was able to escape from our home and was able to get back in to the van on her own based on other events that happened that day leading to her disappearance and then ultimately having been found unresponsive. We may never know for certain. Either way, she lost her life this tragic day and it could have been prevented. If we had known and had been educated and made aware of these dangers maybe she would still be here today. The danger is very real. I think our family, among so many others, is proof of that. We were one of those parents who have said at least once “This will never happen to us.” That’s the worst thing any parent could say. Because it CAN happen, and to good, loving parents and their precious children. We would do ANYTHING to be able to go back and change what happened that day, but we can’t. What we would do to be able to hold our baby girl again. It’s the hardest and most painful thing we’ve ever been through. We are devastated, our hearts shattered. No parent should have to bury their child.
River was and still is the most beautiful girl in the world. She is the girl with a contagious smile, her laugh music to the ears. She could brighten any dark room with her presence. I fondly remember her at my father’s funeral running around giggling, passing out candy to all the guests. It was such a difficult day for us all, but you couldn’t help but smile at her as you wipe the tears from your eyes. She was such a blessing to everyone that day. We will never forget that. She was so beautiful, so full of life, and just so happy. We all worshiped the ground she walked on.
She was a daddy’s girl, that’s for sure, his “princess”. She had him so wrapped around her tiny finger, there was no denying it. Her daddy spoiled her, the way any proud daddy would spoil their beautiful daughter. She got everything, within reason, she wanted. He just couldn’t stand to tell her “no”. And when she would make messes, I hate to admit it, but her two older brothers would get the blame for one reason or another. Thankfully our boys didn’t mind. She had them two wrapped around her finger as well.
River was a spitting image of her mommy. Beautiful and intelligent, stubborn and persistent, kind and caring. I often dream of her growing up and what she may be like, her smile, her voice, her personality, if she would be anything like her mom. We butt heads a lot also. Mommy and daddy couldn’t get away with a simple kiss without her breaking us up. I think I remember quite a few times when I may have been smacked away if daddy was giving me too much attention. But that’s just how it was, and it didn’t bother us one bit. And on a more gentle note, if her older little brother got hurt, she would always check to make sure he was alright. “You okay?!, You okay?” while she would kneel down and look in to his eyes with her tiny hand on his shoulder.
Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting our little girl immediately fell in love with her. She was an angel here on Earth, now back in Heaven. We miss her terribly. We love her deeply. And we want to honor her and her life the best we can. She’s now gone from our arms, but forever in our hearts. She was just too beautiful for this Earth.
So we encourage everyone, in memory and honor of our daughter, River Lyn Nicole, please educate yourself and others. Help us continue to raise awareness and prevention of children being “unintentionally forgotten” in vehicles. You can help us save lives.
The proud family of River Lyn Nicole Jackson
(Samuel R., Raychele M., Ashton Z. Garza, and Samuel L.)
Prevention / Safety Tips
KidsAndCars.org believes the solution to these preventable tragedies is a combination of education and technology. KidsAndCars.org would like all vehicles to come equipped with a system that would alert a driver if a child has been left in the vehicle. Below are some simple tips parents and caregivers can follow to prevent heat stroke tragedies.
KidsAndCars.org Safety Tips for Parents:
- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
- “Look Before You Lock” – Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle. Make sure no child has been left behind.
- Create a reminder to check the back seat.
- Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
- Make a strict policy with your childcare provider that if your child does not show up as scheduled, they will contact you immediately to ensure your child is safe. In turn, you will agree to always call the childcare provider if your child will not be there on a particular day or time as scheduled.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, child care providers and neighbors to do the same.
- Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
- If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.
- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
- Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. This is when most tragedies occur.
- Use drive‐thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.
Please share these important safety tips with your childcare providers, teachers, relatives, friends, family and neighbors… It could save a life! For additional information visit: www.KidsAndCars.org.