Report: Toddler found dead inside junk car in backyard

Posted: Jun 28, 2012 9:45 AM PDT Updated: Jun 28, 2012 9:45 AM PDT

By Chris Dyches

BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -
The Burke County Sheriff's Office says no charges were filed after a toddler was found dead inside a junk vehicle in the family's backyard.

According to the Burke County Sheriff, the incident happened on June 7th.

Three children, ages 5, 3, and 2, were playing in the backyard, where the family had several junk cars.

The sheriff say that when the parents went to check on the children, the two-year-old had been left inside one of the vehicle by the other siblings.

The parents went to look in the vehicle and found the two-year-old dead inside.

On Thursday morning, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services sent out a note saying this was the first child death from hyperthermia in North Carolina since 2009.

"This is a tragic reminder for parents to be vigilant in ensuring that a child is never in a vehicle alone," DHHS Secretary Al Delia said. "Cars are not places for children to play."

July is the peak time of year for child deaths in hot vehicles, officials say.

With temperatures expected to hover around 100 degrees this weekend, the danger is heightened; however, even on a moderately warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rapidly reach fatal levels.

According to a report released this week by the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team, there were 19 deaths of children in hot vehicles between 1999 and 2009. There were no deaths in 2010 or 2011.

The report concludes that most of the deaths occurred when children accessed a vehicle on their own or with other young children. Other circumstances included children forgotten in the vehicle by a caregiver or intentionally left in the vehicle while a caregiver ran an errand.

Safe Kids North Carolina, a childhood injury prevention organization, offers the following prevention tips:
•Never leave a child alone in a vehicle. Check to make sure all children exit the vehicle when you reach your destination.
•Lock the doors when your vehicle is parked. Teach children that cars are not places to play.
•Busy parents have a lot on their minds, so give yourself a reminder. Place your purse, briefcase or other important items in the backseat next to your child's car seat to help you remember to look in the back before leaving the car.
•Set a reminder on your cell phone or other mobile device to remind you to drop off children at school or daycare when routines change.
•Make an agreement with your child's school or daycare that you will be notified if your child is not dropped off at the normal time.
•If you see a child or pet left unattended in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.
•Check vehicles and trunks first if a child goes missing.

Find more prevention tips at www.ncsafekids.org.