Toddler found in hot car

June 16, 2009 3:54:07 AM PDT
A toddler was rescued Monday from a hot car and the child's mother ticketed. Eyewitnesses say the youngster was sweating and overheating. It's the second incident in the last few days. The mother told sheriff's deputies that she ran inside to get some documents, but a resident at the apartment complex said she saw a hot car with a toddler inside and called 911.

Nora Galvan and her daughter Brianna saw the toddler all alone in the backseat of a car at their apartment complex.

"The baby was drinking a sippy cup and looking at us, but it was extremely hot outside," said Nora.

Nora called 911 and the Ft. Bend County Sheriff's Department responded.

"I know that sometimes there are accidents, but it was deliberate because she had the windows rolled down so she knew what she was doing. She left him in there on purpose to do whatever business she had to do," said Nora.

It's the latest case of a child being left in a car in the heat of the day.

"This right here is an oven on wheels," said Cy-Fair Volunteer Spokesperson Karl Pflughaupt, pointing to an SUV.

Pflughaupt showed us just how dangerous it can be with a thermal imaging camera that shows core temperature. In the sun, a human body temperature is between 97 to 99 degrees. Inside an SUV under the sun, it's significantly hotter.

"The steering wheel alone is 146 degrees," said Pflughaupt.

The temperature inside the car climbed to 115 degrees. After five minutes of air conditioning, it lowered to only 110 degrees. After ten minutes, it only dropped to 100 degrees and after 15 minutes of AC, the temperature was 90 degrees.

If you turn the air off, the temperature climbed from 90 degrees to above 100 in just 15 minutes.

"A five minute trip could turn into fifteen minutes and fifteen minutes could be detrimental to a child inside of a vehicle that's not running air conditioning," said Pflughaupt.

That's why Nora was relieved she was in the right place at the right time on Monday.

"They probably think it's not going to happen, I'm just right inside," said Nora.

Deputies pulled the toddler from the car shortly before the mother came out. The child was OK, but Nora fears the next time could be different.

Nora said she is upset the mother was only issued a citation and was not arrested. The patrol sergeant who responded felt the amount of time the child was left in the car did not fall under child endangerment and that the windows were down on the car.

A second woman in our area was ticketed this weekend for leaving her 5-year-old daughter in a hot car. Rosa Tellez is charged with child endangerment. Investigators in Fort Bend County said she left the little girl in a car in a Wal-Mart parking lot off Highway 6. The girl is OK.

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