A father has been charged over the tragic deaths of two twin babies after they were allegedly left in the back of a hot car in New York’s searing heat for up to eight hours.
Police have reportedly alleged the father left the eleven-month-old twin boy and girl inside the car as he went to work, seemingly forgetting they were there.
The dad-of-five, named by multiple news outlets as Juan Rodriguez, is later claimed to have found them there at around 4.30pm on Friday (local time), the New York Post reports.
He has now been charged with two counts of manslaughter and two of criminally negligent homicide.
According to the news outlet, the twins were first left inside the back seat of the Honda Accord in The Bronx at around 8am, close to the James J. Peters VA Hospital in Kingsbridge where Rodriguez works as a social worker.
It’s reportedly claimed that he only realised the children were inside when he began driving away – with someone else said to have called emergency services when he began “screaming on the side of the road”.
Tragically, the New York Post reports they were not breathing and “foaming at the mouth” when emergency services arrived.
Speaking about the tragedy, one neighbour told the news outlet: “How do you live your life after something like this?”
On average, 38 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle in the US, according to Injury Facts. In 2018, a record number of 52 children died after being left in a hot vehicle.
It comes after a one-year-old baby was found dead after being left in a hot car in Sydney in February this year.
Jone Rowlands, who was just 22 months old when he died, was found unresponsive after paramedics were called to a home in Chester Hill in Sydney’s west. NSW Police later confirmed they had received reports that he had been locked in a car outside the residence, as temperatures rose past 30℃.
Ambulance Victoria released staggering figures last year showing the amount of children being rescued from hot cars across Victoria alone. According to their report, paramedics in the state responded to 1587 callouts for people locked in cars across Victoria between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018.
Meanwhile, they said as many as 5,000 children are rescued from unattended cars across the country every year.
Kidsafe Victoria issued a strong warning to parents in the summer months, saying: “The thought of running a quick errand and leaving the children in the car for a minute can be tempting for a parent or carer. Leaving children unattended in a car on any day is dangerous, let alone a hot summer’s day. It could result in serious injury or death.”
They added: “On a typical Australian summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can be 20 degrees C to 30 degrees C hotter than the outside temperature. The temperature inside a car can reach dangerous levels quickly; 75 per cent of the temperature rise occurs within the first five minutes of closing and leaving the car. Large cars heat up just as fast as smaller ones.”