Toddler dies after climbing into car outside home

By JACOB OGLES
jogles@news-press.com

A toddler in Alva died Saturday afternoon after climbing into a car in her front yard unsupervised, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators believe the 2 1/2-year-old girl was in the car for between 20 or 30 minutes, according to sheriff’s office spokesman John Sheehan.

A number of adults were at home at the time, but none saw the girl climb into the 1991 Honda 4-door parked in the driveway, they told investigators.

Deputies have not released the name of the girl or the address of the family’s Alva home. No information about the child’s medical history could be obtained, and the sheriff’s office has not said anything about whether criminal charges might be filed.

“Deputies are still interviewing people,” Sheehan said. “They just don’t want the family ambushed.”

Family told officials the girl went outside the home alone looking for her grandfather. When family members realized she had not been seen in some time, they began looking for her.

She was found unresponsive inside a 1991 Honda 4-door parked in the driveway in front of the home, according to Sheehan. Deputies believe she climbed in on her own
The girl was transported to Lehigh Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, Sheehan said.

The National Weather Service reported the high temperature in Lee County Saturday was about 93 degrees. That temperature was reached around 3 p.m. Officials received a call about the girl at 3:13 p.m.

Forecaster Barry Goldsmith said temperatures were normal for this time of year.
But inside the car, Goldsmith said, temperatures would rapidly have increased, providing tremendous risk for someone inside.

He cited a Louisiana State Medical Society Journal study which said a car left in 93-degree heat would see temperatures inside rise to 125 degrees within 20 minutes.

“That’s all it takes,” he said.

According to the weather service’s own reports on how heat affects the body, those sort of temperatures quickly cause dehydration and can lead to heart problems and heat strokes.

Sheehan said an autopsy is scheduled today to determine a cause of death for the Alva girl.