Temperatures Rising on Child Deaths in Hot Cars

People have created videos of themselves sweating in hot cars to raise awareness about child heatstroke deaths.

Cpl. Jessie Peterson of the Highland Village Police Department only lasted 30 minutes in quickly-rising temperatures of the car before he had to get out and recover.
Cpl. Jessie Peterson of the Highland Village Police Department only lasted 30 minutes in quickly-rising temperatures of the car before he had to get out and recover.

Numerous cases have been reported in Connecticut of babies, infants, toddlers and children being left in hot cars this summer, and the hottest season has only just begun. 

Tragically, 15-month-old Benjamin Seitz of Ridgefield died this week when his father went to work while he was left inside the car. Police said the baby was supposed to be dropped off at a daycare, and the investigation continues.

Police made arrests twice this week of people who allegedly left young children in cars at the Target parking lot on Universal Drive in North Haven. 

  • Cassandra Nonossoild, 27 of East Haven, was arrested July 7 after leaving her two children in her vehicle for 16 minutes while she was in Target. 
  • Elizabeth Ball, 44 of Woodbridge, was arrested July 10 after leaving her 7 year old in a hot car for 20 minutes while she shopped in Target. 
  • Brian Pavao, 33 of Groton, was charged with leaving a six month old in a boiling hot car for 30 minutes on July 1 in New London while he was shopping. He told police he blamed texting for forgetting his child was in the car, police have said. The temperature inside the car reached 130 degrees, police said. 
  • On July 3, police in Orange arrested Nathalie Stonier of Shelton with leaving her 3 year old in a hot car while she shopped at Trader Joe’s. 
  • John Morgan of Waterford was charged after he left his two children, who are 6 and 9 years old, while he went inside to work July 8. Police said the temperature inside his vehicle reached 100 degrees.

This is a serious issue in Connecticut, and State Police even sent out a news release warning the public about the dangers and consequences of leaving children in cars.

To demonstrate the devastating heat of a car parked in the summer sun, a Texas police officer turned off his patrol car and sat without air conditioning, recording his experience on video in five minute intervals.

Cpl. Jessie Peterson of the Highland Village Police Department only lasted 30 minutes in quickly-rising temperatures of the car before he had to get out and recover.

Peterson was sweating after the first five minutes, though the air had been on high right before he turned off the car. When half an hour had passed, he was flushed, sweating and had trouble breathing. At the time of his experiment, he said the high outside was 94 degrees.

A man in Raleigh, NC, did a similar experiment in June to share the same message with parents. Several other people have followed suit, closing themselves in cars and sweating it out as a warning.

So far this year, 16 children have died of heatstroke in the U.S. after being left in hot cars, according to Jan Null, certified consulting meteorologist at San Francisco State University. This number is accurate as of Friday, July 11.

In 2013, that number reached 44 child deaths.

This year is about on track to match the annual averages for child deaths in hot vehicles, according to Sue Auriemma, vice-president of KidsAndCars.org, a research organization dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers vehicles pose to children.

Leaving a purse or briefcase in the backseat can remind drivers to check for children before leaving a car.

The most important thing is to make checking part of your routine.

Anyone who sees a child left unattended in a car should call 911, according to Connecticut State Police.

— Patch Editor Brian McCready contributed to this report.

Ron Drew July 16, 2014 at 08:41 AM
Kitty is correct. The person would probably be more upset with the broken window rather then why it was broken in the first place. That being said the penalty for leaving a child in the hot car should be the same rather in New London, New Haven or Ridgefield. Typically the parent is arrested right away if the child dies. What happened to the husband in Ridgefield? Why hasn't he been arrested yet? Penalty should harsh as there is no excuse.
Igor July 16, 2014 at 08:48 AM
Two more arrested. These people don't learn. Do they?
Ron Drew July 16, 2014 at 09:03 AM
Cars have alerts when you do not have your seat belt clicked. Why not alerts if the seat belt is clicked in the back seat and the door is opened to alert the parent? If the door is closed without the seat belt un-click the horn would blow until un-clicked. Hows that for a new invention car manufacturers?
Igor July 16, 2014 at 11:09 AM
How about people just pay attention to what they are doing? It's not not just with children. They drive, walk the same way. With their heads up their butts. Why should it fall on the auto makers (thus increasing the cost to the consumer) to do what the parents should be doing?
Dylan Anthony July 17, 2014 at 02:25 PM
was the title pun seriously necessary?


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