On the same day a national public service campaign was being launched to warn parents about the dangers of leaving kids in hot cars, a 10-month-old girl died in Wichita, Kansas, after being left in a vehicle that was parked outside her foster parents’ house.
Police say they found the girl unresponsive early Thursday evening and that she was pronounced dead a short time later, according to the Associated Press.
The ABC affiliate KAKE reported on Friday that police have arrested 29-year-old Seth M. Jackson in connection with the child’s death. Jackson, the station reported, was arrested early Friday morning and booked for aggravated endangering a child.
KAKE said the girl “had been in her car seat … with the windows rolled up” for at least two hours. According to the station:
The girl was the foster child of two men who lived at the home. One of the men had picked up the child from a babysitter at 4 p.m., then went home. The second man was in the backyard at the time. Police say a 5-year-old was also in the car, and that somehow the baby was forgotten. Police say the men thought the girl was downstairs, and didn’t realize she was still in the car until shortly after 6:30 p.m.
According to Wichita TV station KSNW, temperatures “reached nearly 95 degrees” in the area on Thursday.
“Especially this time of year, don’t leave children, pets,” Wichita Police Lt. Dennis Wilson said, according to KAKE. “Pay attention to what you are doing. Get them out, take them inside.”
KNSW reported that two other children were rescued from hot cars in the past week around Wichita.
At least 18 children have died of heatstroke after being left in vehicles this year, according to Jan Null, who keeps statistics on hot car deaths. The deaths have occurred across the country, from California to Connecticut.
[More reading: “Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?" Gene Weingarten’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Post Magazine feature from 2009.]
This week, a 59-year-old man was arrested near Fort Worth in connection with the April death of his 20-month-old granddaughter, the Star-Telegram reported. In Georgia, prosecutors are trying to determine whether a father knowingly left his toddler son to die in a car.
The death in Wichita came on the same day the U.S Department of Transportation launched the national “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” campaign to remind parents not to leave their children in their cars.
“We encourage you to put something in the backseat to remind yourself that you have a child in the back,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, according to Denver’s Fox affiliate. “It could be a purse, it could be a phone, a stuffed — anything that will work for you.”