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Children die in burning cars in three states after children aged 4, 1 and 11 months are trapped or left behind by their parents

Three young children – aged 4, 1 and 11 months – have died in recent days after being left or trapped in hot cars for hours in Washington state, Texas and Florida, authorities say.

The deaths of the children, two of whom were left in vehicles while their parents went to church and work, brought the number of hot car deaths among children to six this year, according to NoHeatStroke.org, a site Web that tracks hot cars deaths. The six deaths so far this year are double the total at this point last year, according to California meteorologist Jan Null, who tracks the incidents on the website.

In Puyallup, Washington, police are investigating the hot drive death of a 1-year-old child who was left in a car for more than nine hours on May 24. Authorities say the child’s adoptive mother got distracted and accidentally left the child in the car when she went to work at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital’s social services program.

When she returned to her car and realized what had happened, the woman rushed the toddler to hospital, where the one-year-old was pronounced dead. While the outside temperature that day in Puyallup, 10 miles outside of Tacoma, was in the 70s, the car’s internal temperature reached nearly 110 degrees, police said.

No charges had been filed or arrests made as of Wednesday morning, and the adoptive mother and family were cooperating with investigators, authorities said.

“This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and everyone affected by this,” Puyallup Police Captain Don Bourbon said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. . “And I just want the public to know that at this time of year when it’s starting to warm up, just keep in mind the rising temperatures and the safety of our families.”

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Studies have shown that cars trap heat from the sun and turn 70 degree days outside into 100 degree temperatures inside a car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than that of an adult.

Two days after the death in Washington state, a 4-year-old boy died in Houston after being found Friday in an unlocked parked car with a 2-year-old girl. The children were playing outside the house when they ended up in a “handicapped vehicle”, according to the Houston Police Department.

“We don’t know how long they were there, but family members started looking and found them in the car,” the Houston police commander said. Jonathon Halliday said during a press conference.

The children were rushed to hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead, police said. The girl should recover, according to the authorities.

Tameisha Lewis, a neighbor who lives near where the incident happened in the Independence Heights neighborhood, told KRIV, a Fox affiliate in Houston, that she was devastated by a death that could have been avoided.

“My feelings are hurt because, come on now. It’s like a nightmare. A parent’s nightmare,” she said. “We as parents need to do better to watch our children at the end of the day. It is a mistake, turned into a tragedy. My prayers are with the family. »

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

On Sunday, an 11-month-old girl in Palm Bay, Florida, died after being left in a car for three hours while her parents attended church at Mount of Olives Evangelical Baptist Church, authorities said. Police responded around 1 p.m. to a report of an unconscious baby in a vehicle in Palm Bay, about 75 miles outside Orlando.

“When they arrived, they learned that the baby had been left in a car for approximately three hours while the parents went to church service,” the Palm Bay Police Department said in a statement Tuesday.

The baby girl was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead, police said. Temperatures were in the 70s and 80s Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

“This is an unfortunate incident, and our condolences and prayers go out to the family,” Palm Bay Police Chief Mario Augello said in a statement, according to NBC affiliate WESH in the city. Orlando area.

No arrests have been made and an investigation is continuing, police said.

The 11-month-old is the third hot car death in Florida this year, according to data from NoHeatStroke.org. Half of the child hot car deaths have occurred in Florida. A 2-year-old boy died in Port St. Lucie, Florida in March, and a 2-year-old girl died in Prosperity, Florida this month.

In 2022, 33 children died of heatstroke in vehicles, according to NHTSA. More than 940 children have died of heat stroke in the past 25 years because they were trapped or left in hot vehicles, according to the agency.

“It’s important for everyone to understand that children are more vulnerable to heatstroke and that all hot car deaths are preventable,” NHTSA said.


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