Earlier this month, a one-year-old boy in North Carolina was the 40th child to die in the U.S. this year as a result of being left in a hot car. The boy’s foster mother left him in the car for nearly eight hours after she mistakenly thought she had dropped him off at daycare on her way to work. She is now being charged with involuntary manslaughter and turned herself in to police last Wednesday.
According to police, Dawn Aberson-Vanden Broecke, 42, left the boy in his car seat around 10 a.m. on August 29 while she went into work. She returned to her car after her shift, around 5 p.m., to pick him up from day care. She soon realized she hadn’t dropped him off and pulled into a Lowe’s store parking lot to see if he was okay, according to WBTV.
Broecke called 911, telling them that she “knew he looked bad, possibly deceased,” according to her arrest warrant.
Police reported her “emotionless” as medics tried to revive the boy. “I can imagine she was in shock. She was clearly upset,” said Lt. Corey Copley of the Pineville, North Carolina police department. He continued that Broecke has been “cooperative with us, and has been the entire time.”
The Pineville police posted a warning on their website, reminding parents that children “are more sensitive to heat, and this sensitivity causes their body temperature to increase three to five times faster than adults.”
They continued, “Studies show that of the child deaths in cars, more than a third of these were the result of a child accidentally left in a closed, parked vehicle by parents or caregivers, and another third were trapped while playing unattended in a vehicle. Sadly, one in five children who died was intentionally left in the vehicle by an adult who ran a quick errand.”
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When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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