Ridgefield child dies after being left in hot car - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Ridgefield child dies after being left in hot car

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A 15-month-old boy died on Monday night after police said the toddler was left in a hot car in Ridgefield.

Police said they were notified at 6 p.m. that an unidentified toddler was left in a car unattended for an "extended period of time."

Police said they were notified by staff at Danbury Hospital after the father drove the child there after discovering him in the vehicle.

"First and foremost our condolences goes out to the family," said Ridgefield Police Captain Jeff Kreitz. "PD notified about the tragic death of a 15-month-old baby boy, 15-month-old boy reported to our agency left unattended in a parked vehicle."

The exact cause of death remains under investigation. The results of an autopsy by the chief medical examiner's office were pending further studies.

Police would not say whether anyone was facing charges, and said the family resides in Ridgefield.

Officials from the Department of Children and Family were notified about the incident, but could not confirm the family's identity. DCF officials said they have opened a case on the incident based on information provided by police.

DCF officials said there was no prior involvement with the family, who is believed to be from Ridgefield.

A news conference was held on Tuesday afternoon, but investigators did not release any more information.

Residents are wondering how these incidents keep happening.

"It's very sad. I can't believe it, I just can't believe it," said Rachida Hassaine of Ridgefield.

Within the last month, six Connecticut caretakers have been charged with leaving children in unattended vehicles.

On Tuesday, three cases of children being left in hot cars were reported.

"You would think people would have common sense, and something like that wouldn't happen whether it's a baby or an animal or pet you wouldn't leave it in a car, but unfortunately people just don't think," said Ron Levinsky of Ridgefield.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has not determined the infant's cause of death and the cause is listed as pending, police said.

Woman brings awareness decals to Ridgefield police station

Barbara Baughman paid a visit to the Ridgefield police station on Tuesday afternoon with reminder decals to keep in your car.

Baughman, who is a mother of six and a grandmother, and her family had them made a few years ago. 

Baughman was with her own 15-month-old grandson on Monday when she got wind of what happened in town. And 12 years ago, she said the same thing happened to her when she was moving her family and forgot about her daughter, Emma. 

"Where I thought they had taken Emma out of the car and 45 minutes into unpacking, I realized she was still in the car," Baughman said. "And because my son rolled down the window on his way out. That is the only reason that I am sure why she's here today."

Eyewitness News asked Baughman if people should be charged with leaving their child alone in a car.

"I don't know what the circumstances were. I can't imagine having to live with that," Baughman said.

She went on to say that if it was an accident, "losing a child is punishment enough."

"I'll never forget that feeling," Baughman said.

The decals, which state "closed cars don't breathe, check your seats before you leave," were made available at the Ridgefield police station for the public.

Three "hot car" incidents reported in CT over past month

Monday night's incident was the sixth such incident where police said someone left a child in a hot car in Connecticut over the month of July. 

A Groton man was charged with risk of injury to a minor after New London police said he left his 6-month-old child in a car that reached more than 130 degrees.

Brian Pavao, 33, told police that he was texting at the time and forgot that he left his little girl in the back seat of his unlocked car in a Shop Rite Supermarket parking lot on North Frontage Road on July 1.

According to court documents, officers arrived to find the baby crying and soaked in sweat. They observed three out of four windows were rolled all of the way up, and the fourth window was open less than 1 inch.

A Shelton mother was arrested in Orange on Thursday morning after police said she left her 3-year-old son in a car while she went grocery shopping.

Nathalie Stonier, 36, is accused of walking away from the car with her son still inside her vehicle at Trader Joe's parking lot at 550 Boston Post Road.

Police said upon their arrival they saw the child in the car alone, and despite the high temperatures the child was unharmed.

Stonier was arrested and charged with risk of injury to a minor and leaving a child under 12 unsupervised in a motor vehicle.

State police warns about leaving children alone in hot cars

As temperatures continue to rise, the state police are reminding Connecticut residents that they should not leave their children "unattended inside closed and/or locked vehicles."

Police said leaving children alone in hot cars can be dangerous and possibly fatal. Parents are advised to never allow children to have access to unlocked, parked vehicles or trunks in the hot weather.

According to statistics provided by the state police, there were 44 children who died in hot cars in 2013, and more than 500 have died of hyperthermia after being in a hot car since 1998. In 2014 so far there have been 15 deaths related to children being left in hot cars.

"These numbers are troublesome because they represent deaths of babies, toddlers and young children, and these deaths are completely preventable," state police said on its website Tuesday.

In Connecticut, a person could face a felony charge for leaving a child unsupervised in a motor vehicle.

If anyone sees a child that has been left alone in a motor vehicle, they are advised to call 911 because it could save a life. 

State police also recommend the following tips for preventing one of these incidents:

  • Drivers always lock their car doors.
  • Make a habit of looking in the car, front and back seats, before locking your vehicle and walking away.
  • Never let children play in cars.

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