Boy, 2, found dead outside day care
By: MATT COUGHLIN
Bucks County Courier Times
A 2-year-old boy died Wednesday afternoon after he was found unresponsive in a car parked in front of a Penndel day care facility on Highland Avenue, police sources said.

District Attorney Michelle Henry said that shortly after 4 p.m. Penndel police were called to the day care facility after an unidentified person found the boy. Police sources said that the boy was found in the car which was parked on the 200 block of Highland Avenue and brought inside the daycare before they arrived.

The toddler was rushed to St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Authorities declined to release the name of the child, however, police familiar with the case said a family in Northampton was notified Wednesday night of his death.

Henry declined to release further details about the incident. And she would not confirm or deny that the child was found in a car.

Police sources confirmed Wednesday night that he was in the car when he was found and that a car was towed from Highland Avenue to the county evidence facility in Bristol Township.

Henry said the Bucks County Detectives Bureau and Penndel police are investigating the death. An autopsy is pending. The coroner’s office could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

At least 14 children have died after being found inside vehicles in 2009, according to a report by Jan Null, a California professor of meteorology who studies hyperthermia deaths. An average of 36 children die each year after suffering from hyperthermia inside a vehicle. Hyperthermia is the general term for a set of heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Advertisement High body temperatures can cause damage to the brain and other organs as well as heat stroke and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heat stroke occurs when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees and temperatures of 107 or higher are lethal.

At the time the toddler was found in Penndel Wednesday afternoon, the temperature in Lower Bucks was about 84 degrees, according to AccuWeather.com. Temperatures inside a vehicle parked in sunlight on an 80- to 100-degree day can reach 131 to 172 degrees, according to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Last year, in a column featured in the Courier Times, Dr. Rob Danoff of Aria Health’s Bucks campus wrote that temperatures inside a vehicle, even in the shade or with a cracked window, can quickly reach potentially deadly levels.

On a day when the temperature is 72 degrees, it takes 10 minutes for the temperature in a parked car to rise 19 degrees, Danoff wrote. In 30 minutes, the temperature increases by 34 degrees; in an hour, it rises by 43 degrees.

“Children are not able to regulate their internal temperatures as well as adults,” Danoff said. “They are so sensitive to high temperatures that their bodies warm up five times faster than an adult’s.”

Matt Coughlin can be reached at 215-949-4172 or mcoughlin@phillyBurbs.com.