Father Leaves 4-Year-Old in Hot Car Because He Had ‘No One to Watch Him,’ Reports Say

May 7, 2019 Updated: May 7, 2019

A Minnesota man was jailed after he allegedly left his 4-year-old son inside a car for six hours while he worked on May 4, it was reported.

Kristopher Alexander Taylor, 28, said he allowed his son to stay inside his vehicle with the window cracked because he didn’t have anyone else to watch his son as he worked.

Taylor was working at the Minnesota Monthly 8th Annual Grillfest at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul, according to KAKE-TV, citing charging documents.

The boy, who wasn’t named, was left in Taylor’s care by his mother, the report said.

Taylor said he and his son were at the food festival for several hours before the child got tired and wanted to go in the car, according to the report. Taylor then cracked the window to the 2017 Dodge Journey and left his son in the car with a game at around 2:45 p.m.

Taylor came back at around 5:15 p.m. and found his son unresponsive.

“He told the officers who were at the scene that he thought his son was dehydrated (and) he had left him in the car for a short period of time,” Steve Linders, St. Paul Police spokesman, told CBS Minnesota.

Police said they spoke to Taylor’s co-workers, who said he never left during his shift.

Later, Taylor admitted to what had really happened, police said.

“The father told us that the child had in fact been in the vehicle all day while he had been at work, so at least five hours,” Linders told CBS Minnesota.

Police said Taylor parked his vehicle in a parking lot that had been entirely exposed to the sun, but he told them that he didn’t believe it was that hot outside.

When he rushed his son to the hospital, hospital staff believed he was suffering from a seizure. Anti-seizure medication had no effect, however.

“It doesn’t matter if the sun is direct or not,” said Julie Philbrook, a trauma prevention specialist, according to the report. “Car temperature goes up three degrees every five minutes, so that’s almost 40 degrees in that first hour. So if it was a 65 degree day, in the first hour that car was over 100 degrees.”

Philbrook and other experts say that parents should never leave children alone in a vehicle, especially when it’s hot outside.

“Kids aren’t able to regulate their temperature,” she said. “So even just a little bit of rise can cause their core temperature to go to a point where it’s just too hot for them to survive.”

Police said he was charged with second-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

The death comes after a toddler died inside a car left outside a New Jersey home.

Kids and Cars

The U.S. National Safety Council has stated: “Parents and caregivers can act immediately to end these deaths. Even on relatively mild days, temperatures inside vehicles still can reach life-threatening levels in minutes, and cracking the window doesn’t help,” it says.

“The National Safety Council advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child. Keep car doors locked so children cannot gain access, and teach them that cars are not play areas. Place a purse, briefcase or even a left shoe in the back seat to force you to take one last glance.”

According to experts, children, in particular, are in acute danger when in a vehicle with the windows rolled up on a hot day.

Jan Null, a San Jose State professor and former meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told SFGate that the temperatures inside vehicles heat up rapidly, with the air rising about 19 degrees over whatever the outside temperature is in the first 10 minutes and rising another 10 degrees in the next 10 minutes.

What’s more, Null said the bodies of small children heat up three to five times faster compared to adults.

“So, while you and I could be in a car that’s, say, 109 degrees, an infant or small child would be to the point of entering heat stroke,” he said.