Infant dies after extended time in vehicle
By Jody O'Hara
Sep 12, 2013, 09:07
One wouldn't think residents of South Mississippi would need to be warned about leaving children unattended in vehicles in extreme heat . . . and yet.
A 3-year-old boy died last Thursday after being trapped in a vehicle for an estimated one-and-three-quarter hours while his mother napped.
The incident took place just north of the Stone County line at a residence on Hwy. 49.
According the Stone County Sheriff Department Chief Deputy Phyllis Olds, the mother called the father and told him the child was trapped in the car and she could not wake him up.
The father called 911 and, because of the location, Forrest County emergency personnel contacted Stone County because the response time would be much faster.
"It took us about eight-and-a-half minutes to get there and the child was in full cardiac arrest," Olds said.
Roads were ordered blocked off to hasten an ambulance's trip to Stone County Hospital, where medical personnel spent 45 minutes unsuccessfully attempting to resuscitate the child.
The temperature Thursday at 2:30 p.m., the approximate time of the 911 call, was 92 degrees.
The child was the 36th to die after having been left unattended in a vehicle in the United States in 2013.
Of those deaths, 25 have been confirmed as having been caused by heatstroke.
The other 12, including the one last Thursday, are suspected to have been caused by heatstroke.
An investigator with the Forrest County Sheriff Department said the case was under investigation and no arrests had been made.
He said he was not authorized to release any information.
"We are gathering information from the autopsy and will move forward once that is complete," he said.
According to the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences, which tracks the deaths of children left in vehicles, only 20 states have laws specifically addressing leaving a child unattended in a vehicle and Mississippi is not one of those states.
A 2002 study found:
Average elapsed time and temperature rise
10 minutes ~ 19Ί F
20 minutes ~ 29Ί F
30 minutes ~ 34Ί F
60 minutes ~ 43Ί F
1 to 2 hours ~ 45-50Ί F
Cracking the windows had little effect
Vehicle interior color probably biggest factor
"Parents and other caregivers need to be educated that a vehicle is not a babysitter or play area ... but it can easily become tragedy"
Safety recommendations arising from the study were:
NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE !
IF YOU SEE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A HOT VEHICLE CALL 911.
Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.
Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
Keep a stuffed animal in the carseat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.
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