Toddler Dies After Being Left in Backseat of Hot Car for 7 Hours: Police

A 2-year-old girl has died after she was allegedly left in the backseat of a hot car in a New Jersey driveway for seven hours.

Police found the toddler in a car parked outside a Franklin Township home at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday, according to NBC New York.

Neighbors told the network that it appeared the parents did not know the child had been left in the car for more than seven hours on a warm day.

Officers knocked on the front door of the parents' home where they found the child and neighbors claimed to have heard them scream after being told what had happened.

Stock image of police car
Stock image of a police car. The child had been left in the car for more than seven hours, according to neighbors. Getty

Law enforcement officials told NBC New York it was unclear if the child had been in a car seat at the time.

Deputy Chief Frank Roman told the network: "Authorities have notified the New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner's Office who will be responding to conduct the investigation.

"No further details will be released at this time while investigators conduct their investigation."

He said it was unclear whether the car was locked or unlocked, and the vehicle was towed away later.

A single bouquet of flowers was left in the driveway following the death, NBC New York reported.

Neighbor Alex Krstavski told NBC New York: "How can that happen? How do you forget? I guess we're all forgetful, I've forgotten things in the car. But how do you forget the toddler, you know? I don't know."

According to the advocacy group Kids and Car Safety, more than 1,000 children in the U.S. have died in hot cars since 1990.

The group said there have been 22 deaths so far in 2022 and that the year with the highest number of deaths was 2018 when 54 children died in hot cars.

Sue Auriemma, from Kids and Car Safety, said she wants to make warning systems mandatory in all new cars.

She told the network: "This is the kind of tragedy that doesn't discriminate. It has to do with a failure of the brain's memory in many cases. Unfortunately the worst mistake a parent can make is thinking this can't happen to them."

Newsweek has contacted the Franklin Township Police Department for comment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children left unattended in parked cars are at the greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.

It has advised the following for people traveling with children:

  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.