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2-year-old girl dies after being left sleeping in hot car, Arizona police say

KOLD

The crime scene near where police say a 2-year-old girl died after being left in a car outside Tucson, Arizona.



CNN

A 2-year-old Arizona girl died after her father left her sleeping in a car during a heat wave on Tuesday, police said.

According to police in Marana, just outside Tucson, initial investigations indicate that the toddler's father came home while the girl was sleeping in the car and left her there with the engine running and the air conditioning on while he went into his house.

Her mother eventually came home and shortly afterward the child was discovered unconscious in the car with the engine not running and the air conditioning off, police said. Someone called 911 and shortly after 4 p.m., firefighters and Marana police arrived, police said.

The girl remained in the car for about 30 minutes to an hour before she was found, police told CNN affiliate KNXV.

According to police, resuscitation attempts were made on the child and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A search warrant was issued to Marana police on Tuesday evening and the investigation into the death is ongoing, police said.

“We are interviewing the father, any witnesses and neighbors to find out if the car was still running and the air conditioning was still working,” Marana Police Captain Tim Brunenkant told CNN affiliate KPNX. “All we know is that the car was hot and the child was unresponsive. It was very hot and it's very tragic.”

According to the National Weather Service, air temperatures in the Marana region on Tuesday afternoon ranged from 102 to 108 degrees. Large parts of the western and southern United States are experiencing a prolonged heat wave that has resulted in numerous daily highs and deaths.

In Omaha, Nebraska, police are investigating the death of a 5-year-old boy after finding the child unconscious in a vehicle on Wednesday. It appeared he had been left there for an extended period of time, police said. The high temperature in the area that day was 32 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Ten children have died in the U.S. this year as a result of an overheated car, according to NoHeatStroke.org, a website that tracks deaths in overheated cars and is run by a San Jose State University professor. According to the National Safety Council, 44 children in Arizona have died of heatstroke in cars since 1998.

On average, 37 children under 15 die each year from heat stroke after being left in a hot vehicle, the council said. In 2023, 29 deaths of children in hot cars were reported in the U.S., the council said. Since 1998, the highest known annual number of children dying after being left in a hot vehicle was 53, in both 2018 and 2019, according to the council.

A child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult's, and children can die when their body temperature reaches 105 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of the child heat stroke deaths reported between 1998 and 2023, about 52% of the child heat stroke deaths reported from 1998 to 2023 occurred because a caregiver forgot the child in a vehicle, according to NoHeatStroke.org, which cited media reports of the deaths.

Anna Harden

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