Two children, a baby and a toddler, were locked in a hot van in Katy, TX, while their father shopped in a gun store, reports KTRK Channel 13. The children, a five-month-old boy and a 17-month-old girl, are fine; the father has not been charged.
A customer spotted the children, distressed and crying for help, in the parked van and went into the store to get help. The store’s owner Jeremy Alcede said that, when asked, no one claimed the van or children as theirs, including the father. Police officers rescued the children and later identified the children’s father on surveillance.
“Seeing the sweat all over their face […] seeing the faces of those children just broke my heart because I don’t know how parents can do that to their children,” said Alcede’s employee Moe.
The case has been turned over to Child Protective Services, which must report to the District Attorney’s office before any charges against the father are accepted.
“I don’t understand,” Alcede says. “This just does not make sense that he blatantly broke the law, endangered the lives of his kids. And he is free on the streets.”
In 2011, the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco University reported 33 reported cases of hyperthermia, or overheating, in children as young as three months and as old as eight years. The majority of cases occur when the car suffers from the greenhouse effect, trapping the sun’s rays in the car and heating it at an alarming rate. A young child’s body is unable to handle such drastic changes in temperature, so it quickly becomes lethal for children to remain in locked cars with no ventilation.
Hyperthermia can happen even when the temperatures are at a comfortable 50 or 60 degrees when parents bundle their children too heavily with jackets, hats, scarves, and mittens, containing the heat in the child’s body and causing the same overheating effect by trapping and building on their own body heat.
Have you ever forgotten you child in the car? How do you think the father should be charged?