A four-year old boy died Thursday in West Haven after being left in a hot car. The victim’s two year old brother who was also in the vehicle, was taken to hospital but survived. The vehicle was parked outside an apartment complex in town, but the exact circumstances of the death aren’t yet clear, and police say the incident is still being investigated.
A national child advocacy group points to July as statistically the time when kids are most likely to fall victim to heat stroke if left unattended in a car.
Amber Rollins, the director of Kids and Cars, said over half of hot car deaths occurred when parents had forgotten their child was in the car with them. So, to combat this issue, the company is focused on a car safety campaign called “look before you lock.”
“Make it a part of your everyday routine: open that back door of your vehicle and check the back seat every single car ride,” Rollins said. “If you do this, your child will never be left behind.”
The West Haven tragedy followed the arrest of a Norwich woman who left her one year-old in a car earlier this week when she went briefly into a local McDonald’s. The child in that case was taken to hospital as a precaution, but didn’t suffer injuries.
Rollins said even a short wait time is too long, because 80 percent of the temperature increase happens within the first 10 minutes.
“There’s absolutely no safe amount of time for a child to be alone in a vehicle, especially when it’s warm outside,” Rollins said. “But, it doesn’t have to be a very hot day for a child to die of heatstroke. In fact, two years ago there was a case in Georgia where it was 52 degrees outside and the baby died in a hot car.”
Adults in Connecticut leaving children unattended in car could be charged with a felony.