18-month-old girl dies after she was left inside a car on a day when temperatures touched 88 degrees
An 18-month-old toddler in Arizona died after authorities said she was left inside a car on a day when temperatures outside touched a scorching 88 degrees.
According to AZ Central, the baby girl was found not breathing in the car by officers in Glendale who were called to the scene. Investigators said the child's father had found her in that state in the car, which was parked at an apartment complex near 51st Avenue and Thunderbird Road, at around 4:30 pm on Monday, April 22.
Glendale police spokeswoman Tiffany Ngalula said the father began performing CPR while awaiting paramedics and that multiple neighbors who saw him desperately trying to revive the toddler also called 911. She was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency response personnel.
Speaking to 12News, two eyewitnesses said the girl's father was seen "crying and screaming" and that he was "very inconsolable." They said the victim's mother showed up at the scene shortly after without knowledge of what had transpired and that she "lost it" after she was told her daughter had died.
While it was unclear how long she had been left inside the vehicle, police said in a statement that all the windows of the white Nissan sedan were rolled up and the 18-month-old had been inside the car at least a few hours. They confirmed that she had 'died from being left inside the vehicle."
Temperatures in the high-80s may not seem like it could be fatal, but Jan Null, a professor of meteorology at San Jose State University who has researched pediatric heatstroke in vehicles, explained that the inside temperature of a car can exceed 130 degrees when the outside air temperature is 86.
An autopsy is scheduled to be performed this week, and Null said in an email to AZ that, if proven to be heat-related, the toddler's death would the third such case involving a child in the United States in 2019. In comparison, 52 such deaths were recorded nationwide in 2018.
Ngalula revealed that both parents were being interviewed by detectives, adding that the child would have been at a daycare center around the time she had been in the car. She said the case would be investigated for any possible criminal violations. "It's just a very difficult call, one of the most difficult we ever receive," she said.
The spokeswoman said the incident was another tragic reminder of the need to remain attentive when small children or anyone else who cannot help themselves are in the backseat of a vehicle. "The biggest takeaway, the most important message, is to check twice," she stressed. "Check twice for loved ones that are unable to let themselves out of a vehicle because ultimately, we are responsible for them."