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DCF reports baby’s death in hot car

By Staff | Aug 2, 2011

A 1-year-old boy died Sunday after reportedly being left in a vehicle.

At about 12:45 p.m., the Cape Coral police received a report of a baby not breathing in the 4900 block of Vincennes Street. Prior to police arrival, the baby was taken to the Cape Coral Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the Cape police, reported Tuesday that the department is not releasing any details in the case.

“It’s a child death,” he said.

The family told police that the child was left in a hot car.

Investigators are waiting on the cause of death.

The Department of Children and Families reported Tuesday that the Cape child is the second youth in days left unattended in a vehicle. On Monday, an 11-month-old was rescued from a hot car in Collier Collier by authorities.

The child in this incident survived.

According to DCF officials, at least four other children in Southwest Florida have died since 2002 as a result of being left in a car during hot weather. Across the nation, nearly 500 have died of heat stroke after being left in a hot car since 1998.

In 2010, a record number of children – 49 – died this way.

In Florida, it is illegal to leave a child under the age of 6 unattended or unsupervised in a vehicle for more than 15 minutes.

DCF officials warn, though, that it is never OK to leave young children or vulnerable adults unattended in hot cars, not even for a few minutes. The temperature in cars, even with the windows open, can hit 140 degrees.

“Anyone who sees a young child or vulnerable adult left unattended in a vehicle during these extreme summer temperatures should contact emergency personnel immediately,” Erin Gillespie, spokeswoman for DCF, wrote in a prepared statement. “It could very well save a life.”

DCF officials offered these tips to prevent child deaths in a vehicle:

* If you have a young child in a car seat, check the back seat every time you leave your vehicle.

* Ask your baby sitter or day care to call you if your child is not dropped off on time.

* Avoid being distracted by cell phone calls or text messages while driving.

* Put something in the back seat of your vehicle, like a purse or briefcase, that requires you to open the back before leaving the vehicle.

* Never intentionally leave a young child in a vehicle, not even “for just a minute.”