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1-year-old dies after mom forgets to drop her off at day care, leaves her in hot car for nearly 10 hours: cops

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 9/10/2021 Nelson Oliveira

A 1-year-old girl died Thursday after her mom apparently forgot to drop her off at a Texas day care with her siblings, leaving the child in a hot car for nearly 10 hours, authorities said.

The victim was found dead on the floorboard of the vehicle after the woman went back to the day care at 6 p.m. to pick up her three children — the infant, a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old — but then realized she had only brought the two older ones, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

The woman had driven to the Houston facility around 8:30 a.m. that day with the intention of dropping them off but neglected to take the youngest out of the car, a preliminary investigation suggests.

It was not clear how the mother failed to notice the child in the back of her car for so many hours, but the probe is ongoing. The mother has not been charged.

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Temperatures in the Houston area ranged from the lower 70s to the mid-90s Thursday, with a high of 94 degrees Fahrenheit around 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. It was also sunny, and the car was parked outdoors the whole time, Sgt. Ben Beall said at a news conference.

“So that would probably put you in the 120-degree-plus temperature inside the car,” he told reporters.

The mother appeared to have driven home and gone about her day after driving back from the day care in the morning. She also went to exercise and may have switched cars at one point, authorities said.

The child was found only after the woman and a day care worker rushed back to home in the evening to look for the girl, Beall said. The victim was lying on the floorboard and not strapped to a car seat, he said, noting that there were only two car seats in the vehicle.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.

The case could result in charges filed by the sheriff’s office or end up in the hands of a grand jury to determine if a crime was committed, Beall said.

Hot car © Shutterstock Hot car

This was at least the 20th child to die in a hot car this year in the U.S., according to the website KidsandCars.org. Texas, which has now seen two such incidents in 2021, is the state with the highest number of children killed in hot cars, with a total of 145 deaths since 1991, according to the group.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said investigating cases with dead children can take a toll on law enforcement and emergency workers.

“First responders routinely see horrific things. Incidents involving kids are the most difficult,” he said on Twitter.

“Mental Health is important. For this scene, as an example, we send a member of our Behavior Health Division to simply check-in with our team members and be available to chat about things. Silence in the face of trauma is not the best way to cope.”

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