My Baby’s Story
On April 28th, 2015, God blessed us with our beautiful baby boy, Raymond Pryer Jr. I just remember thinking, “WE ARE THE PARENTS TO OUR MIRACLE BABY, WHAT A JOY!” He was truly perfect, and the ultimate blessing from God. Since RJ was premature and in the NICU and I experienced complications from the birth, we were both admitted into the hospital for the next few weeks. Once RJ was big enough and I was healed, we finally got to bring our handsome baby boy home.
RJ experienced minor developmental setbacks through the first two years of his life, but he was always the happiest baby you’d ever seen. RJ was eventually enrolled in a private school that could meet his needs until he turned three. He loved to play, sing, and learn. Once the summer came, we had to find him a new childcare facility that could help with transporting him to and from school. After receiving recommendations from neighbors, reading testimonials, and two visits to tour the facility, my husband and I came to the decision to enroll RJ in the daycare that eventually took his life.
Our whole lives were destroyed on July 19th, 2018. RJ was only enrolled in the Discovering Me Academy for 6 weeks before a senseless and preventable mistake took our beloved baby’s life. I can still remember dropping him off that morning, telling him I loved him, and hearing him say “I love you too mama,” with his beautiful smile.
Towards the end of every day, my husband and I would always communicate with each other to see who would pick up RJ that afternoon. On this day, my husband agreed to pick up RJ a little after 6pm. I never expected my husband to call me later that afternoon to tell me that they could not find my son. The daycare employees first told us that RJ had been picked up by someone else, and we later found that to be untrue. After receiving the first phone call from my husband, I started to make my way over to the daycare and that’s when I saw the ambulance rushing towards RJ’s day care. The next phone call I received from my husband truly made my heart break. I could hear Raymond on the other end of the phone saying, “what did y’all do to my child?! Baby they’re trying to bring him back to life.”
RJ was found in the daycare van, unresponsive. RJ had been left for hours in that daycare van after returning to Discovering Me Academy after a field-trip. After finally getting to my husband, I asked him where our baby was and he said he was in the truck. I opened the ambulance door to find my son still unresponsive. The first responders tried doing CPR, but they were too late. I picked up my baby and that’s when I felt how hot his body was. He was lifeless. He died from heatstroke that day.
The ambulance took us to the hospital where RJ was pronounced dead. They let us come say our goodbyes, and I held my baby in my arms one last time. I hugged him, I felt his curly hair, and I kissed his face until his body went stiff. I placed a blanket over him, tucked him in, and sang him his favorite song one last time. I told my baby I loved him and I let him go.
At the end of that terrible night, my husband and I were left asking ourselves one thing: WHY?
RJ died that day because several people did not do what they were supposed to do to ensure his whereabouts while in the care of the child care facility. Policies need to be in place to ensure any child being transported by a child care provider is never left behind in a vehicle. Hot car tragedies can be prevented with technology in all vehicles that would sense the presence of a child. Please help us honor our sweet RJ by asking your members of Congress to support the Hot Cars Act to end hot car deaths.
-Dikeisha Pryer, RJ’s Mom