Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sat, Aug. 17

Baby dies after being left in hot car
Father forgot her after coming home

KINGMAN - A 2-1/2-month-old girl died Monday after being left in a car for more than five hours.

Kingman Police Lt. Rusty Cooper said the girl's internal temperature measured 108 degrees after she was rushed to Kingman Regional Medical Center around 4:20 p.m. that afternoon.

Cooper said the girl's 21-year-old father had come home between 10:30 and 11 a.m. earlier that day and went inside his home in the 3200 block of Calumet Avenue, forgetting the girl in the backseat.

The father took a nap and realized his daughter was missing after he woke up. The baby was found unresponsive and not breathing.

According to the Kingman Fire Department, the car was parked in the driveway with the windows rolled up. Battalion Chief Bill Johnston said the car's temperature measured 102 degrees with the doors open at the time the girl was found.

Cooper said police have no reason to doubt the father's story.

"This looks like just a tragic incident," he said.

The little girl and her father are not being identified at this time. The man and the girl's 19-year-old mother have no other children.

Information on the incident has been forwarded to the County Attorney's Office, which will decide if criminal charges will be filed.

According to Janette Fennell, founder of KidsandCars.org, more children have died in hot cars across the nation in the first nine months of this year than all of 2009. A total of 46 children have died this year compared to 33 last year.

The Kingman girl is the youngest in the country to die this year and the third to die in Arizona in 2010.

Fennell said forgetting children in cars became an epidemic of sorts in the 1990s after parents were told to put their children in the backseat to prevent injury from front seat airbags. This led to an "out of sight, out of mind," mindset, she said.

She says that children are always safer in the backseat and offered parents safety tips to prevent tragedies like Tuesday's incident. They include leaving items like cell phones and purses on the floor board of the backseat, keeping a stuffed animal in the front seat when the child is in back and having the child's babysitter or daycare center call if the child does not show up as scheduled.

More information can be found at www.KidsandCars.org.

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