Man whose young son died in hot car is charged

AP News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2014 6:37 PM

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (AP) — The father of a 15-month-old boy who died after being left in a hot car in July has been charged with negligent homicide.

Kyle Seitz turned himself in to Ridgefield town police on Tuesday after learning there was a warrant for his arrest, police said.

Seitz, 36, was released on a promise to appear in Danbury Superior Court on Wednesday. The charge against him is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison upon conviction.

Seitz was supposed to take his son, Benjamin Seitz, to day care on July 7 but instead went to work, police said. Benjamin was inside the car for more than seven hours as temperatures climbed into the upper 80s, they said. Seitz found Benjamin in the car when he went to day care after work to pick him up, and he then took him to a hospital.

The medical examiner ruled the case a homicide.

A phone message seeking comment from Seitz was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Seitz's wife, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, has set up a website, thegiftofben.com , and has become an advocate for technology that could help prevent people from accidentally leaving children in cars.

"We're just like everybody else, and if it can happen to us it can happen to anybody," Rogers-Seitz said in July.

More than three dozen children die of hyperthermia, a very high body temperature, in cars annually in the United States, and since 1998 more than 600 children have died in hot cars. Heatstroke can happen when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees, and car interiors can reach well over 110 degrees even when the outside temperature is in the 60s.

Criminal charges were filed in about half the cases of child vehicular heat stroke deaths from 2004 to 2013, according to KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit group that tracks child deaths and injuries in and around automobiles. The group said charges were filed in 177 cases, while in 160 cases there were no charges and in 34 cases it was unclear.

Of the cases involving charges, 96 cases led to convictions and 21 cases had no convictions. In 57 cases the outcome is unknown, the group said.

Of 220 cases in which a child was unknowingly left in a car, about half led to charges and at least 62 resulted in convictions, KidsAndCars.org said.