An Arizona baby is dead after she was left in her father’s car for several hours while he was at work.
On Tuesday afternoon, Phoenix police responded to the parking lot of a Washington Elementary School District busing facility to reports of an unresponsive child, Phoenix police said at a press conference. Officers were unable to resuscitate the 4-month-old girl and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Phoenix police Det. Luis Samudio said the girl’s father, who has not been publicly identified, and his wife are adoptive and foster parents to several children and earlier in the day the man had dropped a group of children off at daycare before going to work at 7 a.m.
Several hours later, the man left work to pick up the 4-month-old for an appointment. When he returned to work later that day after the appointment, he forgot the girl was still in her car seat.
The father, a 56-year-old school administrator, told police he didn’t realize he had left the girl in the car until he left work at 3:30 p.m. Temperatures in Phoenix reached 89 degrees Tuesday.
It is unclear if the father will face charges, but Samudio called him “a very good man.” The investigation is ongoing. An autopsy for the girl is pending.
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“I understand he is a very good man, he is a parent to adopted children that he’s helped a lot, many other children that honestly don’t have parents,” Samudio said. “He and his wife are people that are always willing to help others.”
This year, 48 children have died after being left in hot cars, according to KidsandCars.org, an advocacy organization that aims to prevent deaths of children involving vehicles. In the last 15 days, 7 children have died in hot cars. The national nonprofit is pushing for passage of a bill called The Hot Cars Act that would require car manufacturers to include technology that both “detects” and “alerts” drivers to the presence of a child in the car, according to a statement by the organization.
“This technology is already available, affordable and effective and should be required in all new cars,” the statement says.
“Why is the auto industry stalling when they should be installing readily available and affordable technology that could prevent the unbelievable suffering of these innocent children?” Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org, said. “It is incomprehensible and unacceptable. Enough is enough. Now is the time to act.”