Child’s death in vehicle is 11th similar incident in U.S. this year

Democrat Staff

The death of a 3-year old found in a car in Booneville last week was the 11th such case in the country during 2020 according to a San Jose State University adjunct professor.

With two on July 22 and another on July 28, there have now been 14 heat related deaths, according to Jan Null, who specializes in researching the dynamics of how hot vehicles can get and tracking heatstroke deaths.

Null says last week’s incident in Booneville was the first in Arkansas this year and first since 2017 when a 6-year old was found on a daycare bus in West Memphis on a day the temperature reached 88.

Null’s research was originally published in the journal Pediatrics.

Working from a reported 97 degree temperature outside, Null said in an email to the Booneville Democrat, the inside air temperature of the car could have been in excess of 140 degrees.

He adds objects or a person inside the car in direct sunlight would have been significantly hotter.

Since 1998 there have been 860 child and infant deaths in hot vehicles, with 18 of those in Arkansas, according to Null’s research.

In each of the last two years the number of deaths has surpassed 50.

Null maintains the website that is kept up to date. The site is partially funded by a grant from NHTSA and the National Safety Council.