LANCASTER – A two-year-old Lancaster boy was found unconscious Sunday night at 8:50 p.m. in the 800 block of Birchwood Road. The cause of death was unknown at press time.
The boy’s aunt, who had custody of the child, found him in the family’s SUV. He was discovered missing five-and-a-half hours after the family returned from a trip to Houston.
There were reportedly six people in the SUV when the family returned home from the vacation.
Family members said they began to look for the young child when the aunt thought he was with his 14-year-old brother or one of his other two siblings.
After searching for the child, the aunt found him in the car. She said she immediately began to administer CPR. Other family members were directed to call 911 and Lancaster police officers and paramedics arrived shortly to the location.
The Lancaster Fire Department transported the child to Charlton Methodist Hospital in Dallas. He was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Lancaster detectives are working with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
This is an ongoing investigation and the cause of death is pending the Medical Examiner’s report.
Texas Hot Car Deaths
While the cause of death has not been determined in this case, Texas has one of the highest rates of deaths from children in hot cars in the country. There have been over 100 since the early 1990s.
According to the Kids and Cars organization 52 children died in 2018 due to hot car deaths. Doctors say children are more susceptible to heat stroke than adults. That’s because their bodies are not able to regulate temperatures as well as an adult body. Heat stroke happens when the temperature of a body reaches 104 degrees.
On a day in Dallas when temperatures might be in the lower 90s, inside a hot car it can reach well over 100 degrees according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Kids and Cars.org reports on average the number of deaths of children dying in cars every year is one every nine days.
Newer vehicles produced by GM and Nissan offer technology to alert drivers to check the rear seat for passengers in an effort to reduce child deaths.
This is a developing story and we will post updates as additional information becomes available.