US

Minnesota Boy Left in Car for Hours, Dies; Father Charged

By The Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Authorities say a 4-year-old Minnesota boy died after his father left him in a hot SUV for hours while he worked.

The father, 26-year-old Kristopher Taylor of Apple Valley, is charged with second-degree manslaughter.

The boy died Saturday in St. Paul. Authorities say Taylor left the child in the vehicle for hours while he worked the Grillfest event at CHS Field. Taylor returned to the SUV at about 5:15 p.m. to find the boy was stiff.

The temperature reached 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the criminal complaint says the boy was in the sun.

According to the complaint, Taylor told police he left the window open a crack and gave the boy a hand-held video game.

It isn’t clear whether Taylor has an attorney to comment on his behalf.

Children in Hot Cars

On average per year, according to advocacy website Kids and Cars, “Thirty-seven children die from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.”

In 2016, 39 children across the United States died because they were left inside a hot car, according to the website No Heat Stroke. In 2017, 5 children died.

In a 19-year-period, when about 700 children died of heatstroke inside cars, 54 percent of caretakers said they “forgot” that the child was there.

“It doesn’t have to be a blazing hot day for these to happen,” according to Jan Null, a San Jose State professor and former meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Null told the San Jose Mercury News. “They can happen anywhere, and happen to anyone.”

Null told SFGate that the temperatures inside vehicles heat up rapidly, with the air rising about 19 degrees over whatever the outside temperature is in the first 10 minutes and rising another 10 degrees in the next 10 minutes.

Additionally, Null said the bodies of small children heat up three to five times faster compared to adults. “So, while you and I could be in a car that’s, say, 109 degrees, an infant or small child would be to the point of entering heat stroke,” he said.

NTD News reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this article.