PRico toddler dies after being left in hot car

AP News
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Posted: Apr 04, 2011 6:32 PM
PRico toddler dies after being left in hot car

A toddler died Monday after being found unresponsive in the back seat of a sweltering car parked outside his gynecologist mother's workplace, police said.

The 21-month-old boy was left for hours in a car seat while his apparently distracted mother worked at the medical office in the northern town of Barceloneta, police spokeswoman Maria del Pilar Bon said.

Dr. Cynthia Galinaltis apparently forgot to drop the child off at daycare and found him in her car in the mid-afternoon, according to investigators in the U.S. Caribbean territory.

The toddler was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared dead.

Authorities did not say if charges would be filed against the mother. A phone call to her office went unanswered.

The boy was left in the car in the outdoor parking lot of a typically bustling outlet mall, where Galinaltis has an office.

Such deaths have risen since the 1990s, when U.S. laws began requiring that small children be strapped into rear-facing car seats in the back seats of vehicles to avoid air-bag injuries, according to Kansas-based organization Kids and Cars.

Experts say leaving a child in a hot car is not always a sign of negligence, but is often the tragic result of a distracted or sleep-deprived brain, or a sudden change in routine.