Toddler Found Dead in Hot Car After Family Got Home From Church

August 26, 2019 Updated: August 26, 2019

A toddler died in a hot car on Aug. 25 in Indiana, authorities said.

The little girl, 21 months old, was in her car seat when her family drove home from church in the early afternoon.

The toddler is believed to have been forgotten in the vehicle by someone who was supposed to pick her up and put her down for a nap. The rest of the family went into the house near Brownsburg. The family, including four other children and the parents, took a nap.

When family members awoke, they looked for the girl and ultimately found her still in the car. She had been inside for “a few hours,” the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement sent to news outlets.

The family called 911 and tried to resuscitate the girl but to no avail. She was pronounced dead at the home.

According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature in Indianapolis on Sunday was around 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Brownsburg is about 20 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

Cars in a file photograph. (Reuters)

The sheriff’s office said that no criminal charges are expected to be filed.

“This appears to be a tragic loss of young life, and our heartfelt sympathies are extended to the family and all involved,” the office said in a statement.

The sheriff’s office, county coroner’s office, and the Department of Child Services are investigating the death.

It’s the second hot car death this summer in Indiana.

Oliver Dill, 3, died in the back seat of his family’s vehicle at the University of Southern Indiana’s Evansville campus, 170 miles southwest of Indianapolis, on July 9.

Officials said Oliver’s father forgot to drop him off at the daycare at the university. When the father went to the daycare to pick the boy up, he found the boy wasn’t there and ultimately found him in his car seat.

The university’s president, Dr. Donald Rochon, said in a statement: “As a parent and the president of the University of Southern Indiana, I am deeply saddened. Our deepest condolences go out to the family of this young child, this is a loss no parent should bear. If you have a child in your life, please hug them tight and remember that counseling services are available if you need them.”

According to the No Heat Stroke group, 832 children have died from heatstroke in vehicles since 1998 and 35 have died this year. In 2018, 53 children died from heatstroke, the highest year on record.

Examination into the causes of the deaths conducted by the group, they found that 54 percent of the deaths stemmed from a caregiver forgetting the child. Another 26 percent of deaths came after a child gained access to the car on their own, while about 19 percent of the deaths came after they were knowingly left by a caregiver in the vehicle.

Sun and red sky
The sun in a file photograph. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Legislation Introduced

After five children died across 11 days inside hot cars in June, federal lawmakers introduced the HOT CARS Act.

Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Peter King’s (R-N.Y.) bill would require all new vehicles come equipped with a sensor and alert system to remind drivers to check their back seat.

“Our cars can already alert drivers when they leave their keys in the car, their lights on, or their trunk open – none of which are life-threatening. It is not unusual for the government to mandate safety features to protect lives. Cars are mandated to have seat belts, interior trunk-releases, and rear backup cameras. Our legislation would move us one step closer to getting this inexpensive technology in every car on the road to help save the lives of children nationwide,” Ryan said in a statement.

“The belief is that it can’t happen to you, always someone else. Unfortunately, it happens over and over again, even to the most conscientious parents. Technology is available and it can be placed in new vehicles to protect innocent children. It’s really that simple,” King added.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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