The girl, described by the father as “severely autistic,” was left inside a car with the engine off and the windows rolled up on a hot day in Little Rock, Arkansas, Fox16 reported.
Srinivasan Jeyvel, 43, was arrested on a charge of endangering the welfare of a minor after two Good Samaritans allegedly spotted the girl inside the vehicle at the Ashley Square Shopping Center and contacted the police at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 6.
The girl was left in the vehicle for approximately 20 minutes after a woman and a security guard noticed the child, the report said.
Officers spoke to Jeyvel, who told them that she was only in the vehicle for a few minutes.
He also said that she was “severely autistic” and was “throwing a fit” in the store, forcing him to leave her inside the vehicle.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that temperatures in Little Rock reached 91 degrees F on that day. A witness told the outlet that it was “very hot” outside.
The daughter was checked out by emergency personnel before she was released into the custody of her mother, the report said.
The Pulaski County jail roster showed that Jeyvel remained jailed as of Sunday night. He didn’t post bail.
Hot Car Death Figures
Heatkills.org, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that when outdoor temperatures range between 80 and 100 degrees, the interior of the car can get to 130 to 172 degrees.
“Children have died in cars with the temperature as low as 63 degrees. Basically, the car becomes a greenhouse. At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees,” stated Jan Null, adjunct professor at San Francisco State University, according to the website.
According to KidsAndCars.org, over 900 children have died in hot cars across the United States since 1990 and so far this year, there have been 41 hot-car deaths.
“Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car,” the website warns, adding that “the end result can be injury or even death.”
The organization also says that in incidents between 1990 and 2018 involving hot car deaths, 56 percent of caregivers “unknowingly left” children in vehicles.
“In an overwhelming majority of child vehicular heatstroke deaths, it was a loving, responsible parent that unknowingly left the child,” the organization says.
By contrast, the organization notes that 13 percent of parents “knowingly left” children in cars, while 27 percent of the remaining deaths involved children who got into vehicles on their own.
Another 4 percent died under unclear circumstances.