Child dies after being found in hot car in B.C.
A 16-month-old child died Thursday afternoon after being left alone in a hot car for hours in British Columbia.
The little boy was found unconscious in a car at Kingsway Avenue and Inman Street in Burnaby, B.C., RCMP said. The child was transported to hospital, where he was declared dead.
Police said the child had been left alone in the car “for a number of hours.”
The toddler’s father was located at the scene and both parents are cooperating with the investigation, police said. No arrests have been made, and police are still interviewing witnesses.
“At this point the investigation is very, very fresh,” Chief Superintendent Deanne Burleigh said at a press conference on Friday.
Burleigh called the child’s death “absolutely tragic” and called it a painful reminder for parents to never leave children unattended in a vehicle.
“We’re in a heat wave right now. Please don’t leave you child unattended in a car,” she said. “We all get tired. We’re all exhausted at certain points. It’s about taking that extra time.”
She would not say who found the child or who called 911. She refused to comment when asked about any possible charges that could be laid.
“I can’t speak to any of those,” she said.
Asked how the family is coping, Burleigh said, “I can’t imagine how the parents are coping.”
“Being a parent myself, I can’t imagine how I would cope. So we have provided victim services, they are surrounded by friends and family.”
Burleigh said she could not predict how long the police investigation will last.
“We want to be thorough. The infant deserves that.”
From a legal perspective, similar deaths have been treated differently across Canada.
A Montreal father who forgot his six-month-old boy in his car last June was not charged in connection with the baby’s death. A Crown spokesman said at the time that no criminal act occurred.
One month earlier, a man from Burlington, Ont. was charged with criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life after his three-year-old died inside a hot vehicle. The father later pleaded guilty to the charges and was given an absolute discharge by a judge, who said the grieving parent had already suffered enough.
The message for parents is to always take extra caution when transporting a child, Burleigh said.
“The only way to prevent this is regardless of fatigue, regardless of how many things you have on the go in your world at any given point, the child is the focus of your attention and your care until they are put into the care and attention of another individual,” she said.