On Wednesday, Sept. 11 at about 2 p.m., two children who were left alone in a car parked in the Sunny Isle Shopping Center parking lot while their parent shopped, passed out from the heat, the V.I.P.D. has announced.
According to Assistant Police Commissioner Thomas Hannah, concerned citizens saw the children, estimated to be around ages 7 and 8, sleeping in the locked vehicle and called 911. Police already in the area responded to the scene quickly and began shaking the vehicle to awake the children, who were able to unlock the vehicle. The car’s engine was left idling and the air conditioner was on, but it wasn’t working properly.
Police say the parent was alerted to the scene in the parking lot and hurried back to the vehicle. An investigation is underway.
Hannah urged parents to avoid leaving their children in cars unattended, as there are deadly consequences that may arise, citing recent similar instances in the U.S. and Caribbean where children have died after being left in hot vehicles. He said victims first suffer heat exhaustion followed by heatstroke, or hyperthermia.
“A child should never, ever be left alone in a car for any reason,” Hannah concluded.
Correction: An earlier version of this story identified “hypothermia” as a condition that results in the body from exposure to significantly high temperatures; that condition should have been identified as “hyperthermia.” Hypothermia results when the body is exposed to significantly low temperatures.