Baby dies in hot car as parents attend 3-hour Florida church service: police

FILE - An 11-month-old in Palm Bay, Fla., died on May 28, 2023, after her parents left her in the car while they attended a three-hour church service. Catherine McQueen / Getty Images

An 11-month-old girl has died after she was left in a hot car on Sunday while her parents attended a three-hour church service in Palm Bay, Fla., police said.

The Palm Bay Police Department was alerted to an unresponsive infant found inside a car around 1 p.m. local time on Sunday, according to Florida news station Fox-35.

In a statement, the Palm Bay Police Department said the infant had been in the car for about three hours while her parents attended a religious service.

Once discovered, the 11-month-old was quickly transferred to Palm Bay Community Hospital but was pronounced dead.

Temperatures reached about 30 C in Palm Bay on Sunday when the baby was left alone in the car.

“This is an unfortunate incident, and our condolences and prayers go out to the family,” reads a statement from Palm Bay police Chief Mario Augello.

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The 11-month-old and her parents have not been publicly identified.

Police are currently investigating the incident. As of now, no charges have been laid.

The temperature inside vehicles can quickly increase — the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said temperatures inside a car can reach around 46 C on only a 20 C day.

The 11-month-old is the latest child to die in a hot car in the U.S. in recent days.

A four-year-old boy died in Houston, Texas, on Friday evening when he was found in a parked vehicle. Parents said they were searching for the boy and another two-year-old girl before they were found in the car. The two-year-old, who was also in the car, is in stable condition and expected to recover. Temperatures in Houston on Friday reached around 27 C.

Earlier, a one-year-old was discovered dead in a parked car outside of the Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Wash. The baby was left in the vehicle on May 24 while its foster parent, a hospital social worker, worked a nine-hour shift. The guardian said she’d forgotten the one-year-old in the car after she dropped off her other children before heading to work. Temperatures also reached 27 C in Puyallup that day.

Preventing hot car deaths

Children and pets should never be left alone in a vehicle on a warm day.

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Click to play video: 'Kids in hot cars: How long does it take before it becomes deadly?'
Kids in hot cars: How long does it take before it becomes deadly?

“Too many children have died in Canada from heat stroke because they were left unattended in a hot car. These deaths can be prevented,” Transport Canada warned.

The department has suggested a number of strategies for parents to prevent children from dying in hot cars, including:

  • Leaving your keys or cellphone in the back seat to remind parents that their child is in the vehicle.
  • Keeping car keys out of children’s reach to prevent them from entering the vehicle alone.
  • Placing a child’s diaper bag or other belongings in the front seat to remind parents that their child is in the vehicle.
  • Teaching children that cars are not play areas.

A 2019 study found, on average, that one child in Canada dies every year from being left in a hot car.

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Click to play video: 'The dangers of leaving pets in hot cars'
The dangers of leaving pets in hot cars

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