Child Dies After Father Forgets Her in Car for Nearly 3 Hours in a Arizona Home

By Web Staff

GILBERT, Arizona—Authorities in Gilbert say a child has died after being left inside a vehicle for up to three hours on a hot day.

The father was watching his daughter on Tuesday, Sept. 3, while the child’s mother was working, authorities told KHPO.

After he returned home from dropping his two other daughters off at school, 2 to 3 hours later, the father realized he forgot his daughter in the car.

A neighbor told the news outlet he ran out of the house, screaming.

The neighbor, who was sitting outside, ran up to him while the father took her out of the vehicle into the house to perform CPR. They both tried to revive her, but it was too late.

Authorities said that despite CPR and other medical intervention, the child was transported to the hospital and was later declared dead.

The name of the 3-year-old girl wasn’t immediately released at the time of this report.

Police and city fire and rescue crews responded to the scene around noon.

Gilbert police say the matter is under investigation and it’s too early to say whether any charges will be filed.

They were told the child was in the vehicle for two to three hours in triple-digit temperatures outside.

A Phoenix TV news helicopter hovered over a neighborhood northwest of Higley and Elliot roads with police tape around parts of the property.

Legislation Introduced

After five children died across 11 days inside hot cars in June, federal lawmakers introduced the HOT CARS Act.

Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Peter King’s (R-N.Y.) bill would require all new vehicles come equipped with a sensor and alert system to remind drivers to check their back seat.

“Our cars can already alert drivers when they leave their keys in the car, their lights on, or their trunk open – none of which are life-threatening. It is not unusual for the government to mandate safety features to protect lives. Cars are mandated to have seat belts, interior trunk-releases, and rear backup cameras. Our legislation would move us one step closer to getting this inexpensive technology in every car on the road to help save the lives of children nationwide,” Ryan said in a statement.

“The belief is that it can’t happen to you, always someone else. Unfortunately, it happens over and over again, even to the most conscientious parents. Technology is available and it can be placed in new vehicles to protect innocent children. It’s really that simple,” King added.

Kids and Cars

The nonprofit group Kids and Cars says on its website that multiple circumstances can contribute to a child being neglected in a car.

“When the right set of circumstances align, this can literally happen to anyone,” the website states, listing a combination of contributing factors, which include:

  • Changes in the daily routine are a major factor in nearly every single case
  • Lack of sleep, stress, and fatigue can all cause our brain’s memory systems to function differently than normal and go into “auto-pilot” mode.
  • Rear-facing car seats look the same whether there is a baby in it or not.
  • Babies often fall asleep in the car becoming quiet little passengers.

The website gives a number of tips to remember to keep a child safe from a hot car scenario:

  • Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind.
  • To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without in the back seat – employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
  • Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to everyone thinking someone else removed the child.

The Associated Press, NTD News reporters Lorenz Duchamps and Mimi Nguyen Ly and Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.