In a summer marked thus far by numerous hot car deaths, a 3-year-old toddler from California has become the latest victim to die from the oppressive heat inside of a vehicle. The Southern California boy, playing alone in the front yard of his home, died Wednesday after he climbed into his parent’s unlocked car and became trapped.
Reports ABC7.com out of Los Angeles: “Emergency crews responded to the 14400 block of Foothill Boulevard and retrieved the child from the car around 3:30 p.m. He was transported to Olive View Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Police say the boy was in a yard and then climbed into an unlocked car. Details on how long the child was in the hot car alone were not immediately available. Police say his father woke up from a nap and found the boy unresponsive.”
Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon said the incident “highlights the importance of not taking for granted where your kids are and what they might be doing.”
Both of the boy’s parents, along with a 14-year-old older sibling, were inside of the home napping. Although no charges are expected to be filed, the incident is leaving many to question why a 3-year-old would be unsupervised. The boy wandered outside, climbed into the vehicle, and suffered cardiac arrest. Temperatures inside of the vehicle were estimated to be over 100 degrees.
According to CNN, San Francisco State University has tracked 19 child deaths already this year, well on the way to matching the 44 children who died in the summer of 2013 after being either left in a sweltering vehicle or becoming accidentally trapped. Since 1998, over 600 toddlers have died from the heat inside of a parked car.
Sadly, almost all of the deaths are preventable. “It’s reasonable to call this an epidemic,” says Dr. David Diamond from Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, who is often called on to consult in hot car toddler deaths. “It happens, on average, once a week from spring to early fall.”
The death in California follows the well-publicized incident of a Georgia man who was arrested for deliberately leaving his son inside of his vehicle to boil to death while he spent his day at work. Details of that can be seen in the video above.