An 11-month-old girl died in Palm Bay, Florida, after being left in a hot car for approximately three hours. The incident took place on Sunday (May 28) when the child’s parents left her in their vehicle while attending church.
The child had reportedly been left in the car for three hours outside of Evangelical Mount of Olives Baptist Church, a small Haitian American congregation affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
According to the Palm Bay Police, officers responded to a call at the church around 1 p.m., where they found the infant unresponsive.
The child was taken to Palm Bay Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
“This is an unfortunate incident, and our condolences and prayers go out to the family,” Palm Bay Police Chief Mario Augello said.
This was the sixth child hot car death in America just this year, according to Kids and Car Safety, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of leaving children in cars, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
The death was the third of its kind to take place this year in Florida, which holds the tragic distinction of having the second most hot car deaths in the nation, behind only Texas.
According to Kids and Car Safety, 1,050 children have died in hot cars in the United States since 1990. Janette Fennell, president of the organization, told Click Orlando that “this can happen to literally anyone.”
“The biggest mistake anyone can make is to think that it can’t happen to them,” Fennell went on to add.
The organization recommends parents implement “look before you lock” safety practices, encouraging them to open the back doors of their vehicles whenever they arrive at their destination; to place items such as phones, laptops, purses, and wallets in the backseat; and to communicate with their partner about who is taking the child out of the vehicle.