Police in Florida are investigating two separate incidents in which young children died after being left alone in hot cars.
A 1-year-old girl died after being pulled from a car at a Waha gas station in Sanford, north of Orlando, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers were called just before 5 p.m. on Friday, September 28 to a report of a child possibly left in a locked vehicle. When officers arrived at the scene in the 4600 block of State Road 46, the baby girl was already deceased.
The girl’s mother is being questioned by police. Officers said initial indications suggest the mother went to work in the morning and forgot the child was in the vehicle, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
“We are working closely with the State Attorney’s Office and will continue to consult with them as the investigation unfolds. The identity of mother and child are not being released at this time,” the department added.
The temperature in Sanford that day reached as high as 94 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service.
The girl was found on the same day that a 4-year-old boy was discovered unconscious in a locked car in Orange County.
The boy was found by a bystander in car which was not running parked at the Elite Preparatory Academy. The child was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital where he was pronounced dead, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
The department said everyone involved in the incident is cooperating with authorities, but have not said whether the child was left inside the vehicle on purpose or not.
“Unfortunately, we know how busy we all get in our life. I’m not excusing people of anything, however. There are ways to remember you have a child in a car. We live in Florida,” Jeff Williamson, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, told Click Orlando.
Experts suggest that forgetting that a child is inside a vehicle is remarkably common.
“Memory failures are remarkably powerful, and they happen to everyone. There is no difference between gender, class, personality, race or other traits,” Gene Brewer, an associate psychology professor at ASU, told Click Orlando.
“Functionally, there isn’t much of a difference between forgetting your keys and forgetting your child in the car.
“The cognitive failure happens because someone’s mind has gone to a new place, and their routine has been disrupted,” he added. “They are suddenly thinking about new things, and that leads to forgetfulness. Nobody in this world has an infallible memory.”