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Police: Heat-related deaths in cars are preventable

Posted at 7:15 PM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 20:35:13-04

An Abbeville woman is facing charges after allegedly leaving her nine-month-old baby in a hot car.

Monique Loftin
Monique Loftin

Monique Loftin reportedly told police she thought another one of her children was in the car with the baby but forgot the baby was alone.

Police were called to the Abbeville Walmart Thursday on Veterans Memorial Drive after someone spotted the baby locked in the car.

When officers arrived, they broke into the car to make the rescue. They say the temperature of the car at the time of the rescue was between 90 and 95 degrees.

“Whether summer or winter, it’s never a good idea. With temperatures as low as 70 degrees, infants can, overtime, have a heatstroke and suffer severe injuries,” said Lieutenant Jonathan Touchet.

The baby was treated and released from the hospital. The nine-month-old is now being cared for by other family members while the Department of Children and Family Services investigates.

“It is illegal (to leave a child in a car) even for a minute or two,” said Touchet. “Unfortunately, with distractions, this minute or two can turn into several minutes.”

According to KidsandCars.org, on average, 38 children die from heat-related deaths in cars every year. So far this year, 15 children under the age of five have died after being trapped in a car.

Police know accidents can happen, and they have some tips for parents.

“Put the car seats in the middle of the backseat instead of behind the driver. That way, whenever you look in your rear view mirror, you will always see the car seat. It may be an extra reminder,” said Touchet.

Some other tips:

  • Check your backseat whenever you get out of your vehicle, even if you know your child isn’t there.
  • Leave something valuable in the backseat, like a purse or briefcase.
  • Have a parent or caregiver call someone within 10 minutes of dropping the child off.