‘I Can’t Imagine How the Parents Are Coping’: 16-Month-Old Left in Hot Car for 9 Hours Dies

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
May 10, 2019 Updated: May 10, 2019

A 16-month-old boy died after being left in a hot car for nine hours on May 9 in British Columbia.

The toddler was locked in a car on the 5600 block of Inman Avenue in Burnaby and was reported to firefighters at around 5:20 p.m. on Thursday, said Dave Younger, acting Burnaby Fire Chief, according to Global News.

When the first responders arrived at the scene, the child was unconscious and was rushed to the hospital, where the toddler was pronounced dead.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking, it’s a tragedy, it has ripple effects throughout the community,” said Chief Supt. Deanne Burleigh, Officer in Charge of the Burnaby Royal Canadian Mounted Police, according to Global News.

The police said the child was inside the hot car for a total of nine hours. The investigation is ongoing, and no arrests have yet been made in the case.

“The infant’s father was located at the scene, and both parents are cooperating in this investigation,” the police said in a statement.

The authorities were also canvassing the neighborhood for any other evidence. “We are still interviewing witnesses and are not at a point where any further information can be released,” said Burleigh in the statement.

With summer approaching, the police warned parents to stay vigilant regarding the dangers of leaving children in vehicles.

“As with any tragedy like this, I can’t imagine how the parents are coping. As a parent myself I can’t imagine how I would cope. So we have provided victim services, they are surrounded by friends and family,” Burleigh said.

Experts say that on a hot day a car takes just 20 minutes to reach an extreme temperature.

“Police are also asking that parents are vigilant when transporting their children, double checking the backseat of the vehicle to ensure it is clear before parking and leaving the vehicle,” Burnaby RCMP said in the statement.

Kids and Cars

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

“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 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 the outside temperature 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 than 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.

Follow Venus on Twitter: @venusupadhayaya