A Maryland boy called 911 to report that he and six other children, all between 2 and 4 years of age, had been locked in a hot car, The New York Post reports.
On Friday, 911 dispatchers received a call from a child, presumably the oldest of them, who called and said that he and six others were locked in a car, with the motor not running, and that they were hot and couldn’t get out. The boy didn’t know where he was, but thanks to 911 locating technology, police were able to trace the call to the St. Charles Towne Center shopping center in Waldorf.
According to Southern Maryland News Net, police arrived a few minutes later and were able to help the children. About 10 minutes later, the car’s driver arrived. Officers investigating the scene determined that the woman had been inside the mall shopping for about 20 minutes already when the police arrived.
Police also determined that the woman is the mother of two of the children and had been babysitting the two others, authorities said.
The woman was taken into custody and her children were placed in the care of relatives, while the other children were placed back with their own families.
#Breaking Charles County Sheriff’s Office says 7 toddlers (ages 2 to 4) were left in a car in the parking lot of St. Charles Towne Center in Waldorf. Car is a black Chevrolet Monte Carlo Photo from @CCSOMD below. There was only 1 car seat in the car. pic.twitter.com/DaUDneoBAM— Ryan Sprouse (@RSprouseABC7) May 10, 2019
Due to the sensitive nature of this crime, police are not releasing any identifying information about the suspect or the children.
According to Weather Underground, the high temperature in the region on Friday was only around 70 degrees. However, even in relatively “cool” weather, the sun bearing directly down onto a car can turn the inside dangerous in a matter of minutes, according to Kids and Cars.
Every summer, the news is filled with tragic stories of children dying from being left in hot cars, either through parents forgetting about them or deliberately leaving them there, mistakenly thinking they’ll be OK. And in even rarer cases, parents have deliberately killed their children by leaving them to die in hot cars.
By government estimates, about 38 children die each year in the United States from being left in hot cars. However, according to Phoenix’s KNXV-TV, 51 children died from pediatric vehicular heatstroke in 2018, which is not only a record but topped the previous record of 49 set in 2017.
Nick Smith, interim president and CEO of the National Safety Council, says that educating parents is the key to preventing such needless deaths.
“We believe… training will go a long way toward educating people about pediatric vehicular heatstroke and empowering them with tips so they can avoid behaviors that can lead to these tragic deaths,” he said.