‘Especially Hard When It’s a Child’: 3-Month-Old Kansas Girl Dies After Being Left in Hot Car

June 11, 2019 Updated: June 11, 2019

A Kansas 3-month-old died after being left inside a hot car over the weekend, prompting the Butler County Sheriff’s Office to investigate.

Sheriff Kelly Herzet, describing the case as “a tragedy,” said that the mother, 44, called for help on June 8 at around 4:30 p.m. local time to her home, KAKE reported.

“A 3-month-old child dying, whether it be in the hands of a perpetrator or in a car, is still a child,” Herzet said.

The child wasn’t found breathing and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the report.

Investigators said the unnamed woman went to a baby shower and returned home at around 12:30 p.m., leaving the girl in the vehicle.

“She had commented that she had been very tired. She’d been up some of the night before off and on. Don’t know if it was with children or for what reason, but she felt like she needed a nap. She laid down about 12:30 p.m. and slept ’til about 4 o’clock,” the sheriff said.

Herzet told KSNT that she told other children in the home what they needed to do while she took a nap.

When she later awoke, she realized she left the baby in the car.

“It’s very hard for us to work this case. It’s very hard for fire, EMS, law enforcement and the detectives that responded to that,” the sheriff also told KSNT. “We hate to see anything like that happen to anyone, and it’s especially hard when it’s a child.”

Herzet said that Kansas officials will carry out a toxicology examination on the infant, saying an autopsy was also performed.

The child’s father wasn’t home on June 8 during the incident, he said, adding that both parents have been cooperative.

“I understand it could have totally been an accident,” added Herzet. “I understand that. Accidents do happen, but it’s not me to make that decision. It’s my decision to put a case together and put it to the county attorney.”

He added to KAKE that the couple had six children, of whom five were adopted.

“It seems like a very good family, very well-natured, took very good care of their children. Like I said, it’s been a very tragic event that’s occurred there,” said Herzet.

KidsandCars.org, a nonprofit, recommends that parents place an item like a purse or phone in the back seat of the car to remind them to open the back door, according to KAKE.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in an update, wrote that at least 10 children so far in 2019 have died in hot cars.

Other details about the girl’s death were not provided.

Dangerous Situation

Heatkills.org, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that temperatures range between 80 and 100 degrees, the interior of the car can get to 130 to 172 degrees.

“Children have died in cars with the temperature as low as 63 degrees. Basically, the car becomes a greenhouse. At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees,” stated Jan Null, adjunct professor at San Francisco State University, according to the website.

Meanwhile, Safecar.gov offers advice to parents:

-Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away.

-Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.

-If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.

-Experts have noted that a car’s temperature can rise 20 degrees Fahrenheit in under 10 minutes.

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