Reports: 16-Month-Old Dies After Being Left in Hot Car

July 1, 2019 Updated: July 1, 2019

A 16-month-old child died after being left inside a hot car in Iowa.

The Sioux City Police Department said that officers were called to a street in Sioux City at around 4 p.m. local time on June 30, reported WHO-TV.

There, they found an unconscious child. When they arrived, they found the girl had been left without parental supervision inside a vehicle.

The child, who was not named, was taken to Unity Point St. Luke’s Hospital and was pronounced dead, according to the report.

Weather forecasters said that it was 98 degrees Fahrenheit in Sioux City on June 30.

Police didn’t disclose how long they believe the child was left inside the car. Officials also didn’t reveal what the parents were doing when the child was left inside the vehicle.

The child’s name was not disclosed.

Other details about the case are not clear.

More Child Deaths

According to an AccuWeather report, before the Iowa toddler’s death, there have been 15 children who have died inside hot cars in the United States in 2019.

A 3-year-old child was found dead inside a hot car in Tennessee, according to the City of Morristown in a statement.

“Officers responded to the report of a missing child during a search of the property; officers found the child deceased on the floorboard of a minivan that was parked on the property. Investigators believe, at this time, the child entered the vehicle without anyone knowing and became trapped,” the city wrote, adding that it appears to “be a tragic accident.”

Police in Galveston, Texas, said a 1-year-old boy died after being left inside a hot car for several hours.

According to KTRK, the Galveston Police Department said the father of the unidentified boy went to work at Los Lazos Mexican restaurant and left the child in the car.

Police said it was 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside when the child was found, Click2Houston reported.

Police identified the father as Abner Pena, who left him in the family’s Chevrolet Tahoe, ABC News reported.

The report said Pena left his child there at 11 a.m. At 4 p.m., he returned to the vehicle and found the child unresponsive, said police.

The boy was alive but unresponsive while he was taken to the hospital. He was pronounced dead upon arrival, police said.

This month, in Florida, a woman was charged with homicide-neglect manslaughter, neglect of a child, three counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and possession of drug equipment, after her 2-year-old was found dead in a hot car parked outside, police said, reported Pensacola News Journal.

Escambia County Sheriff’s Major Andrew Hobbs said Jessica Monell arrived home at around 6 a.m. on April 10, and went inside, leaving her 2-year-old daughter Joy Monell in the car.

“She got home and went inside to sleep. She forgot her kid was left in the car,” Hobbs said, according to the news website. “The poor child had to sit in the car for over eight hours in the heat.”

Monell didn’t wake up until around 4 p.m. but by then, the little girl was already dead, the sheriff major said. Monell was found sobbing hysterically on her living room floor when police arrived.

Investigators also found bags of suspected crystal meth, Xanax, and 20 grams of marijuana in Monell’s apartment, according to WESH.

Dangerous Situation

Heatkills.org, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that when outdoor 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.

Congress to Weigh in

Automakers would be required to install technology on new vehicles that alerts exiting parents to check for children in the back seat under legislation introduced in Congress in response to deaths of children left behind in hot cars, according to Reuters.

Lawmakers say more than 800 children forgotten in vehicles have died from heatstroke in the United States over the last two decades.

The bill would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to write new rules within two years mandating the introduction of “a distinct auditory and visual alert” to remind drivers to check the back seat. It would also require a study to assess the feasibility of retrofitting existing vehicles with the system.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG and other major automakers, said it will “carefully review any legislative proposals keeping in mind that fewer than 13% of new car buyers have a child six years old or younger.”

The group noted, “It takes about two decades for a technology to reach all the passenger vehicles on our roads. Greater public awareness saves live today.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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