FRESNO, Calif. — An 11-month-old boy left inside a car for at least an hour with the windows rolled up in Central California has died, police said Tuesday.
The baby who was being watched by his grandmother probably succumbed to the heat, but the investigation is not over, said Lt. Joe Gomez of the Fresno Police Department.
The outside temperature at the time was 75 degrees, but inside the car the temperature could have been 20 degrees or more higher, Gomez said.
“It’s going to be significantly hotter inside the car,” he said. “There’s nothing else suspected right now.”
It was not clear why the grandmother left the boy in the car or who discovered the baby. The engine of the Ford Taurus was not running, Gomez said.
Officers arriving to the apartment complex attempted to revive the baby, who was not breathing. Doctors at a local hospital pronounced him dead, officials said.
The grandmother was so emotionally distraught that investigators could not talk with her, said Gomez, adding that she was taken by ambulance to the hospital because of her mental state.
The unidentified woman hasn’t been charged with a crime, but Gomez said that was possible. Detectives are investigating.
If proven to be a heat-related death, this would be California’s first this year and the 38th in the nation, said Janette Fennell of KidsAndCars.org, an advocacy group.
That’s a 52-percent increase over 2015, when 25 children nationwide died under such circumstances, Fennell said.
The last child to die in California of vehicular heatstroke was a 3-year-old girl in Pomona, Fennell said.
Even a brief period in a hot car can be deadly. Within 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise 20 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Even if it’s 60 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 110. Children can die when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees, the agency reported.