National News

Girl, 2, dies in hot car at Kentucky home

Posted June 10, 2018 11:50 a.m. EDT
Updated June 12, 2018 8:42 a.m. EDT

— Investigators are trying to determine what led to the death of a 2-year-old girl found unresponsive in a hot car at a Northern Kentucky home.

The girl was found on Saturday in Big Bear Circle in Crittenden, according to Trooper Charles Loudermilk, spokesman for Kentucky State Police Post 6.

A man who lives across the street told WCPO he found the girl in a teal Mercury Grand Marquis and attempted CPR.

The car was parked in the driveway in front of the house.

KSP was called about 6 p.m., Loudermilk said. Troopers also performed CPR when they arrived. The Grant County coroner pronounced the child dead at a hospital.

Investigators were interviewing the child's parents and siblings Saturday night, Loudermilk said.

Loudermilk didn't say how long the girl was in the car or why, but he said it doesn't take long on a hot day -- maybe 20 minutes -- to put a child's life in danger.

Loudermilk said the child's death hit home because he has children about the same age, and he offered advice to parents on how to prevent it from happening to them.

"You hug them a little bit tighter, but at the same time you make them aware of the situation and talk to them about not getting into the vehicle, which is what everybody should do ... 2-, 3-, 4-year-old, you should start opening the dialogue - 'Don't get into the car unless Mommy or Daddy, Grandma or Grandpa are in the car,'" Loudermilk said.

As for parents, he said: "Look before you leave the vehicle. Always take that one second to make that turnaround and look ... If you're at the house and you can't find the child for a short period of time, the first place you should look is in the vehicle."

He also encouraged parents to put their cellphone, purse or bags in the back seat so they're forced to turn around before leaving the vehicle.

Since 2007, three Tri-State children have died after their mothers accidentally left them in a hot car for hours. Those deaths occurred in Mason in 2017, Cincinnati in 2008 and Batavia Township in 2007.

None of those mothers faced criminal charges.

After the Mason death last year, Dawn Gardner, an injury prevention specialist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, told WCPO a child dies every 10 days in the U.S. from being left in a car.

"Over half of the time, when a child dies from a heat stroke, it's because the parents are thrown off their routine," Gardner said.

Gardner said parents should put a reminder in their cell phone to make sure they look in the backseat before leaving car. She also suggested parents put an item like a purse or a briefcase in the backseat so they have to turn around to grab it.

Daycares can also be advised to call parents if the child has not arrived at the scheduled time, Gardner said