The death of a 4-year-old boy in hot car Saturday in St. Paul marks a dubious distinction.
The host of a website that tracks such deaths, made the announcement on Monday.
“This is the 800th pediatric vehicular heatstroke case that we've documented going back to 1998,” Jan Noll said.
Noll, a meteorologist, runs the website noheatstroke.org. He’s also extensively studied temperatures in parked car during a variety of weather patterns.
Under sunny skies Saturday in St. Paul, the temperature reached 70 degrees. Based on his research, Noll estimates the temperature in the car where the boy died “would have been probably approaching 120 degrees.”
On Monday, the boy’s father, Kristopher Taylor, was charged with 2nd degree manslaughter.
He told police he left the boy in the car for several hours as he worked at an event at CHS Stadium.
According to the criminal complaint, the father told police he cracked a window open and left the boy with a game to entertain himself. He said the boy’s mother was also working and he’d been unable to find anyone to watch his son.
The father said he “didn’t think it was that hot,” according to the criminal complaint.
Dr. Andie Rowland-Fisher, a Hennepin Healthcare emergency physician, says it's a common misconception.
“People don't realize temperatures can rise that high, that quickly, on days that don't feel that warm outside,” Rowland-Fisher said.
The problem is exacerbated in children, who are less able to physically cope with heat according to both Rowland-Fisher and Null.
Of the 800 children’s deaths in hot cars Noll has logged since 1998, 54 percent were forgotten in cars by caregivers, 26 percent gained access on their own, and 19 percent were knowing left in cars by caregivers.