A Kentucky father has been arrested for allegedly leaving his 2-year-old son inside a hot car parked outside his office.
Kenneth Robinson, 31, told police he got distracted Monday and drove straight to work instead of dropping off the boy at day care. The toddler was strapped in the backseat as the temperature hit 100 degrees in the car in London, Ky. One of Robinson’s co-workers noticed the boy more than two hours later and made a frantic call to police.
“I need an ambulance at Patton-Chestnut and Binder ASAP. A child was left in the car,” the co-worker said. “Is he breathing? Is he breathing? Yes, he’s breathing.”
Witnesses say the boy was alert in the backseat, but his face was red before being rushed to the hospital. Robinson told police it was a terrible mistake.
This is not an uncommon story during the hot summer months. A Massachusetts woman was charged last week with reckless endangerment for leaving her 5-month-old niece in the car for hours. The baby survived.
Thirty-three children died of hyperthermia in the United States last year after being left in a vehicle; six have already died this year. Half of the children were forgotten in the vehicle by a caregiver.
Brenda Slaby of Ohio left her 2-year-old daughter baking in a car for eight hours in 2008. The temperature reached 140 degrees in the car and killed the little girl.
“I know I can’t blame myself because I know I didn’t consciously do this. I know that,” Slaby said.
Robinson’s story didn’t end in tragedy and he pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday. Robinson faces a felony charge of wanton endangerment and is due back in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
Technology is available to parents to make sure they never leave a child behind. There’s a free app called “Baby Reminder,” which allows parents to set alerts that you’re driving with your child.
Then, there are more basic reminders such as always looking around your car before locking the doors, or use memory triggers like keeping a teddy bear in the front seat when your child is in the backseat.