A seven-week-old baby was found dead on Sunday night in Florida after officials said the child was left in a van for about eight hours while a family went to church.
Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies said the child was found dead at around 9 p.m. on Sunday while they responded to a 911 call at a home in Mary Esther, Florida, where temperatures hit around 90 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity.
Cox Media reported that family members didn’t realize the child’s mother left the child in a rear-facing car seat, while the baby was left in the seat around 12:45 p.m. after family members attended church.
Authorities did not say whether the infant’s death was heat-related. The case was still being investigated as of Monday.
Tests have shown that if the temperature is 90 degrees outside, the inside of a car could reach as high as 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since 1998 in the United States, some 718 children who were left in hot vehicles have died of heatstroke, according to Noheatstroke.org.
So far, in 2017, 18 children have died of vehicle-related heatstroke in the United States. Last year, 39 children died.
About one-third of children who died of heatstroke are under the age of 1.
Last month, a 2-year-old boy from Utah was found dead in a hot van after his parents attended a family reunion. Investigators say the incident appears to be “a tragic accident,” local reports this week said.