Children in hot cars
It’s the same story every year.
Responsible adults leave children in hot cars, often with deadly consequences.
While many of these instances are unintended, the results are the same.
– Justin Ross Harris, 33, was arrested on charges of murder and child cruelty after the death of his son, 22-month-old Cooper, on June 18. The father told police he left his son in the backseat of his SUV for about seven hours after forgetting to drop him off at day care and going to work, investigators in the Atlanta suburb of Cobb County have said.
– Sheriff’s officials in Jacksonville, Fla., say a man faces child neglect charges after leaving his 7-year-old son inside a car while he worked at a Jacksonville furniture store.
A woman called authorities when she saw the child before she went into the store where Hamid Ahmad Nike Mohammad Ahmadzada was cleaning. A police report says the car windows were partially open.
The boy spoke limited English but told police his father, an Afghan immigrant, was inside the store. It was 88 degrees outside when he was found.
– A foster mother in Apopka, Fla., is accused of leaving a 15-month-old boy inside a vehicle with its windows rolled up while she went into a central Florida supermarket.
Police say a Publix employee notified them after seeing the child inside the SUV. Paramedics removed the sweating boy from the unlocked vehicle. He was found to be in good health.
It was about 90 degrees in Apopka when it occurred.
– A South Carolina couple arrested on neglect charges after leaving their kid in a hot car told police that they forgot the toddler was in the vehicle when they returned home from church.
Joe Kennedy, 57, said he and his wife, Ruthene Kennedy, 44, each thought the other had removed the child from the car.
Kennedy said the couple got to their Florence home about 5 p.m., then realized more than an hour later that the child was not inside.
When they went out to their pickup truck, the found 13-month-old Jeremiah Kennedy sweaty and experiencing seizures. They drove the toddler to the hospital.
The high temperature in Florence that day was 86 degrees. The child died three days later.
– An Albuquerque, N.M., couple is accused of locking their 5-year-old daughter in a hot truck as punishment.
Albuquerque police say Dulces Monge-Perez and Angelica Lerma-Montoya were arrested on child abuse charges after police were called to a Home Depot by shoppers who spotted the girl in 90 degree weather.
Police say she was sweating, screaming and crying when she crawled out of the truck and was taken to a hospital to be treated for dehydration and heat exposure.
The girl told police she was ordered to stay in the truck while her parents shopped as punishment for not eating earlier in the day.
In 2013, nationwide, 44 children died from heatstroke after being accidently left in a parked vehicle, including three deaths in Michigan.
Even with mild temperatures outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes, said Community Service Trooper Geno Basanese of the Iron Mountain State Police Post.
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children according to Safe Kids Worldwide. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke, Trooper Basanese said.
To prevent this tragedy, parents and caregivers are reminded to A-C-T:
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call and they are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.
“A hot car can be deadly,” said Trooper Basanese. “Always be sure to look twice before getting out, it’s easier than you think to forget a baby in the backseat.”
Take steps to remember not to leave a child in vehicle:
– Write yourself a note and place it where you’ll see it when you leave the vehicle.
– Place your bag, briefcase or something else you’re sure to need in the back seat so you’ll see a child left in the vehicle.
– Keep an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. Once the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she leaves the vehicle.
– Ask your child care center to call you if your child doesn’t arrive on time for child care.
– If you are dropping your child off at child care, and it’s normally your spouse, partner or caregiver who drops them off, have them call you to make sure the drop off went according to plan.
– If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly (not in an ice bath, but by spraying them with cool water).