Toddler, 2, dies when left in hot car in Houston
2010 The Associated Press
Aug. 19, 2010, 6:03PM

HOUSTON A 2-year-old Texas toddler died Thursday after being forgotten in a hot car for two hours while his parents rushed from the vehicle to treat an older brother, who was having a seizure.

The parents had arrived home after a grocery shopping trip with the toddler and the 7-year-old brother, who has known medical difficulties, according to Chief Jim Sumner of the Harris County Constable's Office. The parents rushed the older brother into the house when he began having a seizure and only realized about two hours later that the baby was missing, Sumner said.

Around 2 p.m., they found the toddler hot and not breathing in the locked car. Ninety minutes later, he was pronounced dead with a body temperature of 105 degrees in a local hospital, according to Sumner.

Police are questioning the parents in the case, but no charges have been filed with the district attorney's office.

"Everybody hates this," Sumner said. "Police officers do not like to see children injured or especially killed. They don't like to see that happen to anyone, especially children."

The toddler is the eighth child to die in a hot car in as many days nationwide, and the 10th in Texas this year, according to Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars, a Kansas-based awareness organization.


Toddler Left In Hot Car Dies

HOUSTON - A family outing ended tragically Thursday when a 2-year-old Canadian child died after being left in a hot vehicle in Northwest Houston.
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A local family had relatives visiting from France and Canada, officials said. A group of seven was returning home from grocery shopping when a 7-year-old autistic child began behaving erratically, according to police.

Adults took the 7-year-old child inside the home, officials said, but more than two hours passed before they remembered a 2-year-old boy was still in the black SUV parked outside.

The boy - the child of the local family's Canadian relatives - was rushed to Northwest Memorial Hospital on FM 1960 with CPR in progress, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival at 3:36 p.m.

The child's body temperature was recorded at 105 degrees. Investigators said the temperature outside was 98 degrees at the time of the incident. The black SUV was 108 degrees on the surface and had an interior temperature of more than 110 degrees.

According to Child Protective Services, hyperthermia deaths like this one are up nationally this year from last year. A study conducted by the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences stated that in 2009, 33 children died after being left in hot vehicles. Six of those deaths were in Texas. So far in 2010, there have been 36 such national deaths.

The SFSU study examined media reports about the 443 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths between 1998 and 2009. Results showed that a majority of the deaths were accidental. More than 200 children - or 51 percent of the cases - were forgotten by their caregivers in vehicles. Thirty percent of the children were playing in vehicles unattended, and 18 percent - or 80 children - were intentionally left in vehicles by adults.

The toddler who died this afternoon is the eighth child hyperthermia death in a vehicle in Texas this year, according to statistics.

Harris County officials said the case remains under investigation, but it appears to be a tragic accident and no charges are expected.