Yulee toddler left in hot car for 4 hours; mother arrested
Updated On: Jul 08 2014 11:40:00 PM EDT
An 18-month-old boy was hospitalized in stable condition after being left in a hot car for four hours Tuesday morning, according to Nassau County deputies.
The toddler was found in the car at a home on Hawthorne Court in Yulee about 10:30 a.m.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said the mother, 25-year-old Michelle King, was charged with child neglect without great bodily harm.
Deputies said the family of five left home Tuesday morning when King took the father to work. The couple has 18-month-old twins, one boy and one girl, and a 6-year-old boy.
Deputies said King arrived home at 6:30 a.m., went into the house with the 6-year-old and the twin girl, then went to sleep, forgetting about the twin boy.
“Sometime between 10 and 10:30, the 6-year-old comes out and was going to get something out of the vehicle, sees his brother in there, (and) gets the brother out,” said Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.
King (pictured) called 911.
The boy was taken to UF Health Jacksonville in non-life-threatening condition, even though his body temperature reached to about 103 degrees. He was given an IV.
“Make sure (children) are safe,” Leeper said. “Don't leave them in a hot vehicle for just a minute or two because some things can happen. Someone could come and take the child. Or the child could get heat stroke.”
Deputies and the Department of Children and Families were investigating.
This is the second case of a child left in a hot car in the area in just the last three days. And as the news spread Tuesday, Nassau County parents were stunned.
“I've never forgotten my kids, ever,” said Trish Moore. “They're No. 1 on my mind, so how a good parent could (forget), I don't know. It's unimaginable to me to leave your child in a car.”
On Sunday, police said a woman left her 5-year-old daughter inside a car at the St. Johns Town Center. The girl is fine, but her mom is charged with neglect.
“That's something you don't forget,” said Melissa Attaway. “I mean, do you forget to get in the car and crank up the car, turn on the AC. (Did) you forget your phone? Your purse? Your kids come first.”
There have also been at least five other reported cases nationally since last Wednesday. And DCF officials said that trend has to stop.
“Thankfully today this child is going to be able to recover,” said John Harrell, spokesman for DCF. “When you leave children in cars, their body temps go up tremendously, a dramatic increase in a matter of minutes.”
King's children are in the custody of a family member, Harrell said, while DCF investigates whether there have been other incidents of neglect.
DCF wants to remind parents that in Florida, it only takes minutes for it to become unbearable inside a hot car.
“These hot cars in summer months turn into ovens and inhumane,” Harrell said. “They've got to take time to look out for children. Make sure if you're putting kids in the car, take them all with you when you get out of the car.”
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