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Child left in hot car in Puyallup dies

A foster parent left the child in a car outside MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup for nine hours, according to police.

PUYALLUP, Wash. — A 1-year-old child died after being left in a hot car outside MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup on May 24, the Puyallup Police Department confirmed. 

Police say the child's foster parent left them in the car while at work in the hospital's social services program.

"This is a tragic incident and our hearts go out to the family and everyone who was affected by this," Puyallup Police Department Captain Don Bourbon said.  "And just want the public to know that during this time of year when it starts getting warmer, just be mindful of temperatures that are growing and safety of our families."

Bourbon said according to interviews with staff on site and the mother, she became distracted and forgot the child in the car before going to work. When she found the child, she rushed the toddler to Good Samaritan, Bourbon said, but it was too late and the toddler died. 

The temperature outside was in the 70s, but it was more than 100 degrees inside the car, according to police detectives.

No arrests have been made. The case is still being investigated.

"A tragic incident took place at the Good Samaritan campus Wednesday involving an employee and their child," a MultiCare spokesperson said in a statement shared with KING 5. "This incident also impacted a number of our other team members. MultiCare has offered a number of paths for support for our employees. We extend our condolences to everyone involved."

The department asked people to be aware of the dangers of leaving children and pets inside cars during hot weather.

In 10 minutes, the temperature inside a car can heat up by 20 degrees and become deadly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is especially dangerous for children, because a child’s body temperature rises more quickly than an adult’s, according to the administration.

In 2022, 33 children died of heatstroke in cars, according to the NHTSA.

The traffic safety administration urged people to never leave children unattended in a car. Even if people park in the shade or roll the windows down, the NHTSA said that does little to impact the temperature inside the car. People should secure their cars so a child cannot get inside unattended, and if you see a child alone in a locked car, call 911.

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