The Summer heat is here, and already at last nine children have died after being left alone in a hot car.
Sadly, it’s likely that number will rise.
San Francisco State University's Department of Geosciences estimates that since 1998, there have been at last 615 heatstroke deaths of children left in vehicles, an average of 38 deaths per year.
Children under the age of two made for more than half of those cases.
Dr. Patrick Mularoni of All Children’s Hospital said leaving children in hot cars causes them to overheat.
“Their internal body temperature will increase, and as their internal body temperature increases, it changes their organs or the way their organs function."
The latest local incident happened in Sarasota. Police officers said, Uriel Hernandez picked up his two-year-old daughter from her mom's on Sunday around 6 a.m., and took her to his mobile home off Orange Avenue.
STORY: Toddler dead after dad left her in hot car
That’s when, officials said, he went inside without her.
"The father went inside to get his phone charger and mistakenly fell asleep, leaving the child in the car," said Detective Tom Shanafelt with the Sarasota Police Department.
Police said it took five hours for Hernandez to realize his mistake, and by then, it was too late.
The child, identified as Alejandra Hernandez, died at the hospital. Doctors said her body temperature was 106 degrees.
Hernandez is being held without bond. Officers are waiting for the results of an autopsy to determine exactly how the two-year-old died.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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