Mom charged with leaving her 6-month-old baby in hot car for 5 hours
The infant’s death and that of a child in Arkansas Tuesday who was found unresponsive in a closed vehicle brings the total number of hot car deaths among youngsters to 18 this year.
Baby Seat in Car
A Louisiana mother has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her 6-month-old infant who police said was left in a hot SUV for five hours on Sunday.
In separate incident that occurred Tuesday, police in Fort Smith, Arkansas, are investigating the death of a young child who was found inside a closed car for an unknown amount of time. A good Samaritan saw the child inside the stifling hot vehicle and smashed in a window to pull the youngster out. The person then rushed the child to the hospital, but he died soon after.
Temperatures topped 102 degrees Fahrenheit there on Tuesday, according to AccuWeather data.
In the Louisiana case, authorities charged Ivy L. Lee, 22, of Lake Charles, with leaving her baby in a vehicle from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., outside a building where she worked in the city. Temperatures in Lake Charles climbed into the 80s on Sunday, reaching a high of 89 F, according to AccuWeather data.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office said Lee flagged down a sheriff's deputy about 2 miles from work around 3:45 p.m. and told him the baby was not breathing.
The deputy and other officers who arrived on the scene began CPR on the child, who was then transported to a local hospital where she later died.
The Sheriff’s Office said that the mother had initially given the deputies two different stories about what happened to her daughter, before finally telling them she had left the baby in the car while she worked.
Ivy L. Lee, 22, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of her infant daughter, who she left in her SUV for five hours on Aug. 14, 2022. (Photo/Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office)
Lee is being held in Calcasieu Correctional Center on a $1.2 million bond, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Data collected by the nonprofit Kids and Car Safety organization shows that more than 1,000 children have died in hot cars since 1990, with most age 3 and younger. At least another 7,300, the group notes, survived but with varying severities of injuries.
These latest fatalities bring the total number of child hot car deaths to 18 for the year – all involving children 5 and younger, according to Kids and Car Safety, which tracks figures nationwide.
The state of Louisiana ranks No. 5 in the nation with a total of 44 child hot car deaths since 1995, the group said.
Experts note that cars become an oven within minutes of being closed. Data has shown that 80% of the temperature increase inside a car occurs in the first 10 minutes, according to Amber Rollins, director of the national non-profit organization KidsandCars.org.
“It's important for families to understand that it doesn't have to be 90 degrees outside for a child to suffer from heatstroke inside of a vehicle," Rollins previously told AccuWeather.
"We've seen children who have died in hot cars on days where the outside temperature was in the 50s or 60s outside, believe it or not, and that's because a vehicle does act like a greenhouse, so it allows that heat to come in through the windows, traps it inside and it's an oven; it heats up very quickly."
Some of the other child hot car deaths reported this year include:
• A 3-year-old girl was found unresponsive in a car in Carthage, Missouri, on Friday. The child was taken to a hospital in Joplin before being flown to a critical care hospital in Springfield. She was pronounced dead the next day, police told local media. AccuWeather data showed temps topped 94 degrees for the day. It was unclear how long the girl had been in the hot vehicle and whether the child was inadvertently left in the vehicle or if the child got in on her own.
• An infant died on Aug. 9 after being left in a hot car in Washington, D.C.
• A toddler died in May after he was left for six hours in a hot vehicle parked outside a daycare center in Memphis, Tennessee.
• A 5-year-old boy in June was accidentally left in a car for several hours in the Houston area as the family prepared to celebrate the birthday of his 8-year-old sister.
• An 11-month-old boy was left in a hot car in Florida in July.
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