Baby found dead in hot SUV after Texas dad forgets to drop son at daycare, leaves him in parking lot

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

HELOTES, Texas — A six-month-old boy died after being left all day in a hot sport utility vehicle in a San Antonio-area Wal-Mart parking lot, authorities said.

His death brings the number of children who have died in hot cars in the U.S. this year to at least 27, including six in Texas, said Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, a national child safety non-profit based in Philadelphia. That’s up from last year’s total of 15.

The baby’s father, who works at the store in the suburb of Helotes, told officers that he forgot to drop his son off at day care before going to work about 6:15 a.m. Friday, said Helotes police Capt. Anthony Burges. The father found his child dead after finishing work and returning to the SUV about 3 p.m.

Temperatures in the area hovered around 100 degrees Fahrenheit much of the afternoon.

The father was taken to a hospital after reporting chest pains, Burges said. No charges have been filed in the case. The name of the infant’s father has not been released by authorities.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office on Saturday identified the infant as 6-month-old Dillon Martinez from San Antonio. Helotes police had initially said the infant was 7 months old.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and data collected by San Jose State University, the number of children dying of heat stroke in automobiles began to rise following the widespread introduction of passenger-side air bags in the 1990s. An increase in air-bag related fatalities of children in front seats prompted parents to buckle their children in rear seats, but while air bag-related fatalities began to decrease by 2000, the number of children dying of heat stroke rose due to children in back seats being less noticeable to parents and caregivers, according to researchers at San Jose State University.

With the children strapped into the back seat, drivers can tend to forget them, Fennell said.

Fennell said the numbers of heatstroke deaths of kids in cars fluctuated in the following decades, averaging 37 such deaths a year since 1998. The worst year was 2010, with 49, according to both a count by Fennell and Jan Null, a research meteorologist at San Jose State University, who also tracks numbers.

This year, on Aug. 4, twin 15-month-old girls died after being found in the back seat of a hot SUV parked in front of a duplex car Carrollton in northwestern Georgia. When police arrived, they found people holding the girls in the water of a baby pool behind the duplex, some with ice packs, trying to cool the girls off.

The temperature inside a parked car on a 90-degree day will reach 119 degrees in 20 minutes and 133 degrees after an hour, Null said.

 

Parents should get into the habit of always opening their back doors when they leave the vehicle, according to Fennell. Leaving a purse or cellphone in the back seat can help. Parents also need to make sure their day care calls them if the child doesn’t show up, she said.

The annual tradition of the New Year’s Baby

VICTORIA - The annual tradition of the New Year's Baby is always of 
interest to media and the public. 
 
It symbolizes the start of the New Year and represents the first of the 
nearly 44,000 babies that are expected to be born in British Columbia 
in 2015.
 
This is a special time for mother, baby and their loved ones - and we 
ask that media follow the following protocols: 
 
* Watch the government Twitter account @BCGovNews at 8 a.m. on Jan. 1
for information on the first birth in B.C.
* Once the announcement has been made, media can contact the health 
authority where the first baby of the New Year is born, through the 
contact details below after 8 a.m.
* If you would like more information regarding the first baby born in 
your region, please contact your local health authority's contact 
(listed below).
* Please do not contact local maternity wards for birth information, as 
they need to spend their time caring for mothers and newborns. The 
local health authority will consider organizing a limited media 
availability for the mother and baby, with the family's permission. 
Please respect the wishes of the family, as newly delivered moms and 
babies need their rest.
 Event Date: Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015
 Time: 8 a.m.
 Location: B.C. government Twitter account @BCGovNews

Pitbull -Rottweiler cross destroyed; girl recovers in hospital

BY RICHARD WATTS, TIMES COLONIST

VICTORIA — A 16-day-old baby girl is in hospital recovering from injuries she received when she was mauled by the family dog.

The dog, a pitbull-Rottweiler cross bred and 17-year family pet, has been destroyed.

Saanich police continue to investigate. The dog owners may face a charge of criminal negligence.

Police said in a press release they received a call in the early morning hours Sunday about a baby girl being mauled by the family dog in the Glanford area.

The child was taken to Victoria General Hospital where she remained Sunday evening with non-life-threatening injuries to her face. Police speculated she may later require plastic surgery.

The family agreed to have the animal euthanized after considering the seriousness of the incident.

Barbara Watt, president of the Victoria City Kennel Club, was appalled at the notion of crossing-breeding a Rottweiler with a pitbull.

“Perish the thought,” said Watt. “People who cross breeds like that probably have no idea what they are bringing into the world.”

“If you take a dog with the weight of a pitbull and particularly when you cross it with something like a Rottweiler you have a very powerful animal,” she said in an interview.

She said all dogs, even something tiny like a Chihuahua, can bite. And no dog, whatever the breed, should ever be allowed near a child without supervision.

Also, Watt said dogs get jealous of the attention that gets lavished on a new baby or a child. So a family must be extra careful if it has had a dog since it was a puppy and then bring in a human child.

“They have to be very careful of how they introduce those two,” she said.

Watt said one of the things making pitbulls unpredictable is the lack of established breeding patterns.

Kennel clubs have refused to recognize them as an established breed. Amateur breeders have selected and promoted the animals for their fighting prowess.

So it’s very unlikely anyone breeding a pitbull has a good notion of their animal’s pedigree or its background ancestry. It’s opposite to what happens when someone takes on a purebred, recognized breed from a reputable dog breeder.

Such animals grow physically to an expected size and their temperaments are reasonably predictable, said Watt.

Furthermore, a reputable breeder will often support and stand behind an animal and help a new owner become accustomed to their pet. Good breeders are mindful of the well-being of the dogs to which they have some connection.

“And very often you will have to wait for the puppy of your choice and even that is a good sign because it demonstrates the breeder isn’t breeding too frequently,” she said.