Baby left in hot car dies.
A baby left in a hot car in Lexington has died.
Posted: 6:07 PM Jun 19, 2010

A 5-month-old infant has died after being left unattended in a car on a very warm afternoon.

Police were called to a home on Candlelight Drive in Lexington just before 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. They received report that a child was having trouble breathing. Medical crews rushed the infant to UK Hospital while police questioned the child's mother. The mother was later escorted to the hospital to be with her child.

The Fayette County Coroner reports Holland Judy died Sunday morning of Hyperthermia, the cause of death is listed as accidential.


Lexington baby left in hot car dies

By Shawntaye Hopkins - shopkins@herald-leader.com

A baby girl who was found unresponsive Saturday inside a hot car parked on a residential street in Lexington died Sunday morning at University of Kentucky Hospital, according to the Fayette County Coroner's Office.

Police found 5-month-old Holland Judy of Lexington inside a car about 3 p.m. Saturday at 2976 Candlelight Way. The temperature was about 85 degrees at the time, which was the high for the day.

Holland was rushed to the hospital and regained consciousness shortly before 6 p.m., police said. She died about 6 a.m. Sunday from hyperthermia, or heatstroke, the coroner said.

The death is being investigated as an accident, according to the coroner's office.

Officers with the Crimes Against Children Unit and Forensic Services interviewed the child's mother Saturday afternoon, Lt. Richard Bottoms said. Police have not released further information about their investigation.

According to Kentucky law, a person can be charged with second-degree manslaughter if he or she wantonly causes the death of a child younger than eight by leaving the child in a vehicle. Second-degree manslaughter is a Class C felony.

Reporters hovered on Candlelight Way Sunday afternoon as neighbors drove past the duplex where the incident occurred and asked questions about the child's condition. It appeared no one was at the home Sunday afternoon.

Holland was the 15th child in the U.S. this year to die from hyperthermia after being left in a hot car, according to research by Jan Null, an adjunct professor of meteorology at San Francisco State University.

Null's Web site says at least 33 children who were left in cars died of hyperthermia last year and that 460 have died since 1998. Ten of those children were from Kentucky.

Just over half of the children were forgotten by caregivers, according Null's research. Another 30 percent were playing in unattended vehicles and 18 percent were intentionally left by an adult, according to her examination of media reports.

The last child who died in Lexington from heatstroke after being in a hot car was April Knight, 2, who was left in a car parked on North Upper Street in Lexington on June 20, 2009. April had spent the day at Jacobson Park with her grandparents and some other children then returned to the grandparents' home.

The grandparents thought a younger child was getting April out of the car. Two hours later they found April still inside the vehicle.

Experts recommend that parents never leave a child unattended in a vehicle for even one minute and to call 911 if a child is seen unattended in a hot vehicle.

To avoid forgetting a child, experts recommend that caregivers keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is put in the seat the animal should be placed in the front with the driver. They also recommend putting a purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that a child is in the car.

Heatstroke occurs when a person's temperature exceeds 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A core body temperature of 107 degrees is considered lethal.

Null's study of vehicular hyperthermia found that children can die in relatively mild temperatures of about 70 degrees when left in a car. The temperature inside a car can rise 29 degrees in 20 minutes during warm weather.