Despite rising temperatures, careless parents have lead to the deaths of numerous children in recent days.
On Wednesday, Mendocino County officials in California arrested a 23-year-old mother; police say she left her toddler son alone in a car with the windows rolled up for about 10 hours. Her 18-month old son, Chergery Teywoh Lew Mays, was baked to death while she “socialized” with friends, a Mendocino County Sherriff’s statement said. The baby was left in the car at roughly 3am and wasn’t discovered until 1:30pm the following afternoon. The temperature in the air was about 80 degrees which translates to a temperature of about 130 degrees inside the car. Scott, of Trinidad in Humboldt County, was arrested on “suspicion of willfully causing or permitting a child to suffer great bodily injury or death.” Mays’ death was the first car-related heatstroke death of a child of the year in California and the 17th for the nation.
Sadly, the 18th car-related heatstroke death of a child occured on the next day. On Thursday, a 21-month-old child died after being left unattended in a vehicle in Roseburg, Oregon. The mother of a child, 38 year old Nicole Marie Engler, was taken into custody and lodged at Douglas COunty Jail, charged with second degree manslaughter. The nurse practitioner had changed her daily routine, completely forgetting to bring her child to daycare. While she worked in Evergreen Urgent Care, the child died of heat stroke inside the locked car.
On Friday, another child died of heat stroke in a car; this time, the incident happened in Montreal, Canada. Jean-Pierre Brabant, Montreal Police spokesperson, told reporters the father found his son’s lifeless body in his car. He thought he left his son at daycare in the morning, police said, but when he returned around 5:30 p.m. asking daycare staff for his child, they said the child hadn’t been brought in that day. “The people from the daycare told him that he never brought the child at the daycare, so his first reaction was to go see in the vehicle,” Brabant said. The father found his child unconscious in his car seat and brought the infant into the daycare where authorities attempted resuscitation. Unfortunately, the child was pronounced dead at the scene. The parents of the child were both transported to a hospital to be treated for shock, and police said they will be closely followed and provided psychological help in the coming days. Any possibility of charges is still yet to be determined, Brabant said.
Unfortunately, many children die every summer from being left behind in a car. According to noheatstroke.org, 760 children have died in the US due to “pediatric vehicular heatstroke” since 1998. 2017 saw a surge in child deaths, with 42 dead. Among the dead last year were two children who were intentionally locked in a car by their mother who wanted to “teach them a lesson.” More than 80% of these deaths happened to children 3 years old or younger. The noheatstroke.org website is maintained by the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University.