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Sleeping child left in car as temperatures reached 95

June 29, 2021 GMT

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a 5-year-old child was left inside a car outside a Bellingham business in 95-degree temperatures Sunday.

The parent was cited for reckless endangerment and the child was transferred from the parent’s care, The Bellingham Herald reported.

The child was checked by aid workers and found to be OK, according to Police Lt. Claudia Murphy.

An employee of the store noticed the child left alone in the car and sought help, then removed the child from the car, she said. Responding officers determined the parent left the sleeping child in the car and entered the business to use the restroom, according to Murphy. She said the temperature in the car was dangerously high.

It was estimated the child was left alone in the hot car for more than eight minutes before being rescued by the employee, Murphy reported, and it took the parent several minutes to return after the child had been rescued.

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Police cited the parent with reckless endangerment and the child was transferred to the custody of the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families, according to Murphy.

Since 1998, 888 children nationwide have died due to pediatric vehicular heatstroke, according to noheatstroke.org.

The website says there have been three pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths in Washington state since 1998 with the most recent two in the state occurring in 2013.