3-year-old Florida boy dies after being found unresponsive in hot car

The toddler’s death marks the 11th hot car death in 2022.

July 12, 2022, 1:52 PM

A 3-year-old boy in Miami has reportedly died after he was left in a car Monday, marking the 11th hot car death this year.

The boy was found unresponsive at 3:45 p.m. in his parents' vehicle parked outside Lubavitch Educational Center, a Jewish school in the Miami Gardens neighborhood where his parents are both teachers, according to Miami ABC affiliate WPLG.

The temperature in Miami reached a peak of 93 degrees Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

PHOTO: Lubavitch Educational Center is seen in an image from Google Maps Street View.
Lubavitch Educational Center is seen in an image from Google Maps Street View.
Google Maps Street View

WPLG reported the boy died at Jackson North Medical Center and the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office later determined his death was accidental and the cause was hyperthermia, or overheating.

An average of 38 children die in the U.S. each year after being in a hot car and about 87% of them are age 3 or under, according to data from the nonprofit Kids and Cars Safety. The nonprofit, which tracks hot car deaths, said the boy was the 11th fatality in 2022 and second in July.

Young children and infants are at higher risk of overheating, heatstroke, and other heat-related illnesses, than adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that can be compounded by being in a hot car. The federal agency warns that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can increase up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes.

How to avoid a hot car death

Kids and Car Safety recommends several tips for adults, parents and caregivers to keep in mind when traveling with children in cars.

  • Adopt the "look before you lock" habit. Make a habit of checking the front and back seat, as well as the trunk of a car, before locking and leaving the vehicle. Check even if a door is locked and never assume a child has left a car already.
  • Use a visual reminder. Use a cue that reminds you of the child -- a diaper bag, playing a children's song or placing a stuffed animal in the front seat -- so even when you're distracted, the physical object can help jog your memory.
  • Enlist the help of others. Ask others adults, like a child care provider, teacher, relative or neighbor, to check on kids or call or text to make sure a child has arrived at or departed from their destination.
  • Talk to kids about the hazards of a hot car. With older kids, they can help remind the adults around them that they're in the backseat or use a car horn during emergencies.
  • Use stick-on door alarms. An inexpensive physical alarm can also serve as a reminder when a car door is opened or closed.
  • Keep car doors locked and car keys away from children. Kids can easily gain access to a car if left unsupervised and accidentally lock themselves inside.