10-month-old girl dies from cardiac arrest after being locked inside hot car by adult who went grocery shopping
A 10-month-old baby died after being left inside a hot car on Tuesday, July 16, while the adult accompanying her went grocery shopping in the southside of Richmond, Virginia, police sources told local news outlets.
According to WTVR, the child was locked inside an SUV for an unspecified amount of time. When the adult returned from shopping, she did not observe anything wrong with the infant and drove back to a home along the 4600 block of Britannia Road, between Broad Rock Boulevard and Warwick Road, in South Richmond. Emergency teams responded to this spot around 2 pm. The child suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was later declared dead.
The Richmond police are still investigating the case. "While foul play is not immediately suspected, detectives ask anyone with information to call detective J. Hewitt on (804) 646-6870," a press release from the department said.
Angelica Juarez, a neighbor who lived across the street from the residence where the emergency teams were called, said the adult accompanying the infant was a female. "She went to the store and left the kid in the car. Came back, she was holding the baby. She brought the baby to the house, the ambulance came, the baby was already dead,” she said. "It’s very sad because the girl was only 10 months old and it looks like they just left her in the car. They had police and ambulance at the house for about 2-3 hours," she said.
San Jose state adjunct professor and research meteorologist Jan Hull explained why it was important for a parent or guardian to "look before you lock." "112 degrees [Fahrenheit] inside in 10 minutes, the temp then would climb to about 125 in a half-hour and 135 and above in an hour," Hull said. "Smaller infants... their surface area for perspiration compared to body mass is not good, so they get overcome by heat much faster than an adult and their body temps rise three to five times faster," he added.
Amber Rollins of KidsAndCars told NBC12 that despite their best efforts, they were unable to prevent nationwide hot car deaths. "This is the 21st child that has died this year in a hot car,” she said. "Last year, we had 52 fatalities nationwide and it was the worst year in history for child hot car deaths… We have been working to raise awareness and educate on this tragic topic for 20 years now and nothing is changing," she said.
However, that did not mean that there was no hope for the future as the group was actively working with federal lawmakers to change the laws. "It’s a federal bill that would require technology in vehicles that would sense the presence of a child and prevent these horrible things from happening… Who out there doesn’t want to prevent children from dying in hot cars?” Rollins said.