Shelby County coroner rules hot car deaths ‘accidental’

Shelby Co. toddlers' hot car deaths ruled accidental

SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating after two toddlers died in a hot car over the weekend.

As it stands right now, the coroner has ruled these deaths “accidental.” But she said you need to understand how quickly tragedies like this can happen.

“They were playing. Babies play,” said Shelby County Coroner Lina Evans.

She has not released the names of the two little boys who died after getting into a vehicle on their own Saturday afternoon, but we do know they were brothers, just one and three years old, who lived in the Montevallo area.

“They actually got trapped in a vehicle that was parked on the land,” Evans explained.

Evans said the family is already dealing with an unfathomable amount of pain and guilt surrounding the death of these young boys.

“This weekend, the temperatures were around 91 degrees. That would make the inside of the car at minimum, if this is in the shade, at minimum, it would be 135-degrees in the car, and it would take less than 30 minutes for a young child to succumb to heat. Remember, cars have child locks in the back. If the child locks are engaged, the back doors will not open from the inside,” Evans said.

Evans added that a baby could die in the amount of time it takes a parent to locate a child.

That’s why experts recommend examining our own behaviors to ensure this doesn’t happen to another child.

“In a way, even though we’re all aware of the problem, if you ask people, ‘Have you heard about this?’ Everybody will say sure they have, but most people will deny that it ever could happen to them,” said CEO of Elepho, Inc., Michael Braunold. “But unfortunately, the statistics don’t lie. It could happen to good, loving parents.”

According to statistics from kidsandcars.org, on average, 26% of U.S. hot car deaths are the result of children getting into vehicles on their own and not being able to get out.

But this year, that number nearly doubled to 47%.

Experts said it is imperative that all drivers, even those without children, lock their vehicles so children cannot get in.

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