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The Burbank Police Department along with the Cook County State’s Attorneys’s office are investigating the death of a 20 month-old boy who died Friday after being left unattended in a vehicle for a period of time. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide earlier today and determined the cause of death to be heat stroke as a result of neglect. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services have launched their own probe into the child’s death.
The Burbank police and fire departments responded to a call Friday evening of an unresponsive child in the 4800 block of West 85th Street. A preliminary investigation by the police revealed that the child had been left in the family vehicle that was parked in the driveway of the family’s home. The child was transported by Burbank paramedics to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
A press release by the B.P.D. stated the family has lived in Burbank for a number of years and moved into their current home in 2012. Although other media sources have reported the identity of the child, the Burbank Beat has decided not to publish the boy’s name in the interest of the family’s privacy.
The high temperature reported at Midway Airport Friday was 95 degrees. According to the website kidsandcars.org, a nonprofit child safety organization, the interior of a parked car can reach a temperature of 125 degrees within minutes even with the windows partially open. Children are especially vulnerable to heat stroke, as their body temperatures rise three to five times faster than an adult’s. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a total of 527 heat-stroke-related fatalities to children left in cars have been reported since 1998. On average, 38 children die annually from being left behind in closed, parked vehicles.