The tragic death of a 2-year-old boy in Kansas is suspected to have been caused by heat after he was found unresponsive in a car on Sunday, officials have said, amid a 92F heatwave in the Midwestern state.
Osage County Sheriff’s Office officers were called to an address, which has not been made public, in Scranton at around 3.40 p.m. local time.
Sheriff Chris Wells said the child was rushed to Topeka’s Stormont Vail Health, where he was pronounced dead. Wells said the toddler appeared to have ‘got into the car’ by himself and had not been left there by an adult, as is often the case.
The case remains under investigation, and an autopsy will take place soon to determine the boy’s exact cause of death.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in Topeka – around 23 miles north on Scranton – reached peaks of 92F on Sunday, while averaging 80.5F throughout the day.
At 4 p.m., 20 minutes after the police were called to the scene, a temperature of 90F was recorded with a heat index of 101.
Should heat be confirmed as the cause, it would make the boy’s death the 14th hot car death so far this year, according to data from Kids and Cars Safety.
The tragic death of a 2-year-old boy in Kansas is suspected to have been caused by heat after he was found unresponsive in a car on Sunday, officials have said. Pictured: A car is seen with a reflective cover (file photo)
The national non-profit organization – which tracks car deaths and works to prevent the risks of leaving children and pets it cars – says around 38 children die each year in America from being left in a hot car.
Approximately 87 percent of them are aged three or under, it says.
The name of the deceased child has not been released, but Sheriff Wells confirmed to Newsweek that it was a boy – and that early indications suggested he had climbed into the car by himself.
He told the news outlet: ‘This incident is still under thorough investigation. All evidence as of this moment indicates this was a tragic accident, and that no crime was committed.
‘The child was a boy, and information we are gathering indicates the child was likely playing and climbed into the vehicle, rather than being left in the vehicle.
‘At this time, we will not be releasing the name of the child or the child’s family.’
Officials and health experts have urged parents and others looking after children to take extra care in hot temperatures, with Amber Rollins, a director at Kids and Cars Safety, telling ABC News that hot car death have been trending upwards.
‘In the ’90s, we realized children were being killed by overpowered airbags and children are still safer riding in the back seat. We moved them to the back seat because that’s where they’re the safest. However, now they’re out of sight of the driver,’ Rollins told the the network’s Good Morning America.
‘So they’re in the back seat, they’re rear-facing now until age 3 or even longer, depending on the size of the child. And that car seat looks the same for the driver whether there’s a baby in there or not.’
She added: ‘This is not like parents didn’t just all of a sudden overnight become neglectful and irresponsible. This is an unintended consequence of moving them to the back seat.’
In the last two months alone, there have already been a number of cases.
Osage County Sheriff’s Office officers were called to an address, which has not been made public, in Scranton (pictured) at around 3.40 p.m. local time. Once there, they found an unresponsive child who was rushed to hospital, but was later pronounced dead
On July 11, a three-year-old boy died after being ‘mistakenly’ left in a hot car for eight hours outside a Miami preschool where both his parents were staff members.
Temperatures outside were in the mid-90s Fahrenheit on the day, with the heat index indicating 103 Fahrenheit as the highest temperature that day.
The unresponsive child was rushed to Jackson North Medical Center by helicopter, where he was pronounced dead.
The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner confirmed Tauber died of hyperthermia, and heat exhaustion, and listed the death as as accidental, according to NBC Miami.
In another tragic case, a Virginia father killed himself after he found his toddler son dead in the backseat of his car when he mistakenly went to work.
Aaron Beck, 37, killed himself in the woods behind his home in Midlothian on June 28, after finding his son lifeless in the car.
Aaron Beck killed himself on June 28 after discovering his son, Anderson Beck, dead in his car. He had mistakenly left the 18-month-old toddler in the hot car while he went to work
Kendrick Engram Jr, three, was found asphyxiated in the third row of a Nissan SUV in June
The child’s family alerted police that the boy had not shown up to daycare. Officers went to the home after his family told cops Aaron had made suicidal statements.
The father was found shortly after, where the family said he would be.
Officers speculated that Aaron went to work in the morning for three hours and forgot to drop his son off at daycare during an ongoing heatwave. Temperatures in the area reached a high of 80F on the day they died.
In late June, a three-year-old Georgia boy died in a hot car at a Wendy’s drive-thru after his grandmother had forgotten about him in the back seat.
Kendrick Engram Jr, was discovered by his uncle at the fast-food restaurant on Wynnton Road Sunday in Columbus after he had been left inside of the car for about 2 hours and 45 minutes, according to the Muscogee County Coroner’s Office.
He died of asphyxiation after being left in the car in the scorching heat; the day’s highest temperature was 96F, the lowest 90F, the National Weather Service reported in its three-day history forecast.
Rollins suggested using a visual reminder – such as a stuffed toy – to remind drivers they have a child in the back of the car as they are about to leave the vehicle.
She said if the parents puts a stuffed animal in the toddler’s car seat, when they go to put the toddler in the seat they will see the toy.
By then taking the toy into the front of the car and putting it somewhere it will be noticed when leaving the vehicle, this will create a visual reminder of the child.