A Florida woman allegedly left her daughter in a hot car yesterday while she was visiting an inmate at the Orange County Jail in Orlando.
The child, who reportedly was sitting in the car alone outside the jail for about 20 minutes, is described as being either two- or three-years-old per various media accounts.
During this ordeal, the Orlando temperature was estimated to be 91 degrees Fahrenheit, along with a heat index of 110. Fortunately, a corrections officer patrolling the parking lot discovered the child and removed her from the vehicle. The good news is that responding EMTs determined that the child was unharmed.
The mom, identified according to Fox35 Orlando and other news outlets as Rachel Etienne, 21, allegedly admitted that she left the child by herself in the vehicle during the inmate visit, and was arrested by Orange County sheriff deputies. She faces a charge of child neglect after officers located her inside the facility at the visitor’s center. She was released on bail last night.
The Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of the toddler and temporarily turned her over to a relative. Evidently Etienne may have to appear at a DCF hearing to determine if she will be able to get her daughter back.
“According to her arrest report, the child was found drenched in sweat in the vehicle which was locked, the engine was off and windows cracked slightly,” CBS Miami detailed.
A neighbor of Etienne’s claimed that she had previously warned her about leaving the child in a hot car, Fox 35 added.
Parenthetically, about 800 children have tragically died in hot-car-related incidents in the last 23 years, and 15 so far in calendar-year 2017, NBC News reported. The parent was unaware that his or her child was in the car in about 55 percent of the cases since 1994.
Pending federal legislation called the Hot Cars Act of 2017 would mandate various sensors installed in cars to remind a parent that their child is in the backseat before exiting the vehicle.
In a separate incident in central Florida late last month, a woman who worked at a Disney resort and allegedly left a relative’s two-year-old daughter in a 113-degree hot car for 45 minutes was charged with aggravated child neglect. The child was reported to be in stable condition, MyNews13 detailed.
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