An 11-month-old girl died after being left in a car in Fairfax County, Va., on Friday, police said.

The incident “appears inadvertent,” said Sgt. Greg Bedor, a Fairfax County police spokesman.

The baby’s father had placed her in a car to be taken to a day-care center in the 6400 block of Meriwether Lane in the Springfield area, but never took her there, Bedor said. Instead, he took another car for other activities, Bedor said.

The father had earlier taken an older child to the day-care center, and when he returned there in the car with the baby intending to pick up both children, he learned that the baby had never been dropped off.

The father apparently then realized that the baby was still in the car and reacted with panic, Bedor said. The girl was unresponsive, and police were called about 4:50 p.m. The girl died at a hospital, police said.

The father was distraught and grief-stricken, Bedor said.

Bedor said the child had been in the car “for several hours,” possibly three.

No cause of death could be learned immediately; however, the heat-related deaths of children left in cars have become tragically familiar. Since 1998, more than 800 have died of “vehicular heatstroke,” according to the National Safety Council.

It was nearly 90 degrees in Washington on Friday, and temperatures in closed cars can be much greater than outside.