A 3-year-old Girl Dies Of Suffocation After Being Left Unattended In A Car For 5 Hours

Sarmistha Neogy
·5-min read

Sometimes a little carelessness can cost one dearly. This is exactly what happened to a family in Johor. In a tragic incident, a 3-year-old Malaysian girl died due to suffocation after being left in a car for about five hours.

The Johor police are investigating the case on grounds of neglect and exposing a child to danger.

A 3-Year-Old Girl Dies Due To Suffocation In Car

According to reports, the girl’s 59-year-old grandma accidentally left the 3-year-old in the car after driving home. The girl was accompanying her grandma while they were dropping her sister off at school around 1 pm on April 25.

The 59-year-old then drove her granddaughter back in the car. Upon reaching home, she reportedly turned off the car’s engine and got off.

It was only around 6 pm, the 3-year-old’s mum realised her daughter was missing. It then struck the grandma that probably she has left the child in the car. They rushed to find that the girl was lying unconscious in the backseat.

Unfortunately, the girl was pronounced dead at Sultan Ismail Hospital in Johor.

According to reports, her medical reports cited heatstroke as her cause of death. This could have possibly led to suffocation.

Johor police are trying to look into the possible cause of neglect by her parents/guardian. Once convicted, they can face up to 20 years’ jail and a fined S$16,000 (RM50,000).

We at theAsianparent, offer our condolences to the family for their loss. However, this incident is also a grim reminder of the very real possibility of forgetting a child in a vehicle.

Incidents of child fatality from being left in vehicles can be common place, but they are also preventable. For that to happen, we will need more awareness.

Why You Should Never Leave Your Child Unattended In A Vehicle

suffocation in car
suffocation in car

A kid should never be left unattended in the car, even if it is just for a few minutes. Image courtesy: Freepik

Accidents can happen anytime and luckily many of them are preventable if we stay a little alert. When a child is sleeping peacefully in the backseat, it’s easy to zone out. You get distracted with calls or other worries, and you end up forgetting that you have a child sleeping in the backseat.

A study from NHS shows that most pediatric heatstroke cases stem from a caregiver forgetting their child.

There is a reason why experts advise that children should never be left unattended in the car, even if it’s for a very short time. Here’s why:

On a day where it is 73°F outside, it can only take 25 minutes for temperatures inside a car to exceed 100°F. Weather.gov further reports the majority of temperature increases also occur within the first 15 to 30 minutes of a vehicle being off and unattended. Thus, proving that it doesn’t take long at all to reach dangerous temperatures.

The American Academy of Pediatrics highlighted that a child’s body heats three to five times faster than that of an adult. They have trouble regulating the temperature of their bodies.

As a result they can easily get dehydrated. And when the body temperature reaches 107° F, death is imminent.

Safety Precautions To Avoid Suffocation In Car

suffocation in car
suffocation in car

Suffocation in car accidents can be prevented to a large extent if parents remain a little vigilant. Image courtesy: iStock

Here are tips that you can use to prevent such fateful incidents.

Educate yourself and your children

You’ll need to teach your kids that to not play alone in the car. Most kids are very inquisitive and want to try out things that they have been asked not to do. Therefore, if they are at an age to understand, explain to them that need to not play anywhere around or in a car, alone.

You must also teach them that if they are left alone, accidentally, they must raise an alarm immediately.

Keep the keys away

suffocation in car
suffocation in car

Always keep the car keys away from your child’s reach. Image courtesy: iStock

Don’t keep the car keys in a place which the kids can easily access. You should keep them away from their sight and yes out of their reach.

Don’t leave them alone, not even for a minute

Keeping in mind how fast the car can heat up, you should never leave your child inside the car alone. Negligence like this can lead to suffocation in a car and even a fatality.

Check your car before you leave

Make it a habit to always check the backseat of the car before you get down. Ensure that children are out of the car before locking it and walking away. While driving, put your cell phone, bag, or purse in the back seat, so you check the back seat when you arrive at your destination.

If your child is locked in the car or if you see someone else.

  • Call 999 immediately

  • Immediately try to get the child out of the car

  • After they come out, spray cold water

  • If the child is unresponsive, immediately rush him or her to the hospital.

We understand that with the current pandemic situation in mind, social distancing restrictions are in place in several areas, for instance, a grocery store. You may consider leaving them in the car to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus. But, NEVER do that.

Stay safe, keep your eyes and ears open.

News source: MustshareNews, ConsumerReports

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