HAMMOND, La. – An 8-month-old boy has died after being left in a car for 8½ hours by mistake, Louisiana investigators said.
The baby was found in the car about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, when his guardian drove to a daycare center to pick him up, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto said.
The baby wasn't there: he was still in his car seat in the back seat of the car, she wrote in a news release Thursday.
"The guardian has been very cooperative and working with detectives. She's obviously distraught," Sheriff Daniel Edwards said in the statement.
The woman thought she had dropped the baby off about 8 a.m., but he apparently spent the day in the car outside the woman's workplace in Hammond, about 20 miles (65 kilometers) northeast of New Orleans.
Temperatures there hit 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) Wednesday. At that temperature outdoors, a car's interior can reach 136 degrees (58 degrees Celsius) in an hour, University of Georgia researchers have found .
Panepinto said the case would be turned over to prosecutors once the investigation is completed.
She wrote that people should arrange for childcare providers to call if a child doesn't show up; to make a habit of checking front and back seats before locking a car door; and to create reminders for a child's presence, such as leaving their purse or briefcase in the rear seat or leaving a stuffed animal in view.
"This is the first case for the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office where a child had died as the result of being left inside of a vehicle and we want it to be the last," she wrote.