Third Ga. child this year dies after being left in a hot car

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 11:42 AM EDT
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DANIELSVILLE, Ga. - A child has died after being found unresponsive inside a vehicle in the parking lot of a Walgreens in Madison County – at least the third in Georgia and ninth nationwide this year.

The latest one in Georgia was discovered Thursday after authorities responded to a Walgreens parking lot after receiving a call about a 12-month-old child that had been found unresponsive in a vehicle. The child was pronounced dead at a hospital.

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Authorities said the mother was a Walgreens employee inside the store for an undetermined amount of time before she discovered the child in the vehicle.

Georgia ranks sixth in the nation with a total of at least 43 child hot car deaths since 1993, according to Kids and Car Safety, an organization funded by State Farm Insurance.

More than 1,000 children have died in hot cars since 1990 and at least 7,300 survived with varying types and severities of injuries, according to data collected by Kids and Car Safety.

Safety tips for parents and caregivers

Create simple habits to help keep your child safe:

  • Place the child’s diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you.
  • Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind. To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without in the back seat (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
  • Ask your child care provider to call you right away if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
  • Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to thinking someone else removed the child.

Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway. Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
  • Never leave car keys within reach of children.
  • Use childproofing knob covers and door alarms to prevent children from exiting your home unnoticed.
  • Teach children to honk the horn or turn on hazard lights if they become stuck inside a car.
  • If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they’re locked.

From reports by WRDW/WAGT and WGCL