A New York state mall security guard is facing felony criminal charges after allegedly leaving his 2-year-old son strapped in his car seat, in a hot car, while he worked his shift.
As WCBS-TV (New York) reports, Kaliym Rodriguez, 26, was charged Monday in connection to the Sunday incident.
At about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, police were called to the Roosevelt Field Mall in East Garden City, in the New York City suburbs, about a child strapped in a car seat. Though the temperature outside was a relatively mild 78 degrees, the child inside the vehicle was distressed and appeared to be “sweating profusely,” according to a police report. The New York Post reports that officers were able to get into the vehicle through an unlocked door, and reported that the 2-year-old was “hot to the touch.”
Police took the young boy into an air-conditioned police cruiser and gave him water and cooled him off before he was placed in an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital. He made a full recovery.
Police, meanwhile, waited by the vehicle for the child’s parent or caretaker to show up. Sure enough, about an hour and a half later, Kaliym Rodriguez turned up. He was arrested and taken downtown.
Meanwhile, the young child, whose name has not been released, has been handed over to Child Protective Services. It is not clear when Rodriguez’s shift began and, thus, how long he had been trapped in the car.
According to a May 2018 USA Today report, even a vehicle parked in the shade on a somewhat mild day can still heat up to internal temperatures that are dangerous for children and pets. University of California biometeorologist Jennifer Vanos says that even in the shade, in two hours, the temperature inside a car can reach 104 degrees.
“This body temperature could be fatal to infants and children — and those who survive may sustain permanent neurological damage.”
Not counting hot car deaths so far this year, in the past 20 years, 749 children have died from being left in hot cars – an average of 37 per year. In about half of the cases, the child was inadvertently left behind by a parent or caregiver who simply forgot about them. In other cases, the parent or caregiver deliberately left the child in the car, perhaps thinking they would be safe there. And in at least one case – that of Georgia dad Justin Ross Harris – a parent has deliberately murdered a child by leaving them in a hot car.