Child in Madison County hot car death died from hyperthermia - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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Child in Madison County hot car death died from hyperthermia

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
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GLUCKSTADT, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland has ruled that 2-year-old Caroline Bryant, of Brandon, died from Hyperthermia after being left in the back seat of her mother's car.

This accident happened May 11. Police got a call about a two-year-old girl found dead in the backseat of her mother's car at a Madison County daycare.

The next morning, Heath Hall with the Madison County Sheriff's Office said that authorities had interviewed both the mother and the father and it still appeared to have been a "terrible accident". 

Hall says that so far, no charges have been filed but the investigation is still ongoing. 

At 3:19 pm on Wednesday afternoon, the Madison County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene in Gluckstadt at the Little Footprint Learning Center on Distribution Drive off of Gluckstadt Road.

According to Sheriff Randy Tucker, the mother of the child said she was on the way home from work and stopped at the daycare to pick up her child. 

"They told the mother you didn't drop her off this morning and the mother immediately became distraught, ran out to the car and realized the two year old was still in the car," said Tucker.

She discovered her child dead in the backseat of her SUV, still in her car seat.

Sheriff Tucker addressed the media, describing the incident as a "tragic accident". 

"It looks like a tragic accident," added Tucker. "I can't see any way other than to look at it from that point based on what we know." 

Investigators believe that the toddler remained in the mother's vehicle throughout the day as temperatures reached the mid 80's.

Parents picking up their children from the daycare center were shocked at the news of the toddler's death. Raven Braden, the mother of a 6-year-old, was passing by the learning center while the coroner was conducting his investigation.

"I think we just have to slow down and basically take the time to look, to make sure that we're handling everything when it comes to our children. That's really sad," said Braden.

According to KidsandCars.org, a public safety awareness website for child safety, Mississippi ranks the 16th state with the most child vehicular heatstroke deaths in the U.S. with a total of 16 deaths between 1995 and 2016.

Nationwide, 6 children have died in hot cars this year. 

According to the organization, vehicular heat stroke is largely misunderstood by the general public. The majority of parents are misinformed and would like to believe that they would never "forget a child in a car.

However, according to the website, "the most dangerous mistake a parent or caregiver can make is to think leaving a child alone in a vehicle could never happen to them or their family".

KidsandCars.org says that in well over 50% of these cases, the person responsible for the child’s death unknowingly left them in the car. 

Some other facts:

The Greenhouse Effect in Vehicles

  • The inside of a vehicle heats up VERY quickly! Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in minutes.  
  • Cracking the windows does not help slow the heating process OR decrease the maximum temperature 
  • 80% of the increase in temperature happens in the first 10 minutes 
  • Children have died from heatstroke in cars in temps as low as 60 degrees.

Contributing Factors 

  • A child’s body overheats 3-5 times faster than an adult body. 
  • Change in normal daily routine, lack of sleep, stress, fatigue, distractions, hormone changes, worry… symptoms that ALL new parents experience! 
  • Rear-facing car seats look the same whether there is a baby in it or not. 
  • Children, especially babies, often fall asleep in their rear-facing child safety seats; becoming quiet, unobtrusive little passengers.

What causes a parent to misremember? According to the website, the basal ganglia takes over and suppresses the prefrontal cortex. The brain is on auto-pilot, doing what it would do on any given day, not accounting for changes in routine. Memory specialists note that the basal ganglia is much more likely to take over when someone is fatigued.

Some Safety Tips:

  • Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute. 
  • “Look Before You Lock” - Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle. Make sure no child has been left behind. 
  • Create a reminder to check the back seat.
  •  Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat. 
  • Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycare dropoff. Everyone involved in the care of your child should always be aware of their whereabouts. If your child will not be attending daycare as scheduled, it is the parent’s responsibility to call and inform the childcare provider. If your child does not show up as scheduled; and they have not received a call from the parent, the childcare provider pledges to contact you immediately to ensure the safety of your child. (this is very similar to the ‘absence-line’ used by most elementary, middle and high schools) 
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, child care providers and neighbors to do the same.  Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children. 
  • If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them. 
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible. 
  • Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. This is when many tragedies occur.
  • Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump. 

For more Facts and Safety Tips from KidsandCars.org, click here

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