WICHITA, KS (KCTV/AP) - A 10-month-old baby is dead after being left in a hot car outside a house in south Wichita.
CBS station KWCH is reporting the baby is a foster child and was found Thursday evening.
Police say the girl's 29-year-old foster father picked her up from a babysitter around 4:00 in the afternoon. They returned to the home along with a 5-year-old child. Police say, somehow, the child was left behind in the car as the 29-year-old and the 5-year-old went inside.
The foster father's partner, a 26-year-old man who is also a foster parent, was in the backyard when they came home and didn't realize the young girl was not inside.
Police say the two were watching TV when they realized the girl was not in the house. They found the girl unresponsive, brought her inside and called 911.
Emergency crews were dispatched to the home and pronounced the girl dead.
Police took both men in for questioning, then arrested the 29-year-old on one count of Aggravated Child Endangerment. Police expect to present their case to the District Attorney's Office next week.
Police say the girl has lived with the foster parents since last fall, and they were in the process of adopting her. They've adopted two other children, ages 5 and 7. Those two were taken into police protective custody.
Three other foster children live in the home, who are currently staying with other family members.
According to the organization KidsAndCars.org, this young girl is now the 18th child to die this year because they were left inside hot cars and the 10th child that has died in a hot car in the state of Kansas since the year 2000.
When a child is left in the back seat, even with the windows down, it doesn't take long for temperatures to reach dangerous levels. They say that almost any time of year is dangerous because the temperature in a closed car can jump more than 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.
Experts are asking everyone to look around when they enter gas stations and grocery stores. They say if someone sees a child inside a car alone, they should immediately call 911.
In this case someone called 911 about 7 p.m. Thursday to report a baby inside a parked car in the 1500 block of South Topeka Street in Wichita. When police arrived the child was unresponsive inside the car.
Police say she was pronounced dead a short time later.
There are a lot of questions about why the child was in the car for such a long period of time. The girl is reportedly the foster child of two men who lived at a home near where the car was parked.
Advocates say there are easy ways to remember your child.
- Put your handbag, briefcase or cell phone behind the driver's seat because this will force you to look back.
- You can also keep a stuffed animal up front as a reminder.
- Ask your daycare provider to call you if your child doesn't show up.
"First and foremost never, never leave your child alone in a car, period, never. It doesn't take much. This year's first fatality happened in California when temperatures were still hovering in the 70s," said United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.
Last year 44 kids died in hot cars. Experts believe many of these deaths are often accidents because of extreme fatigue and changes in schedules that cause parents to forget to look in the backseat.
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