Girl Dies After She Was Forgotten In Truck: Another Reminder That Hot Car Deaths Really Do Happen

By Tanya Diente, Parent Herald May 28, 08:02 am
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A family from East Nashville, Tennessee, is mourning the death of their 1-year-old daughter after the father unintentionally left her in the back of a pickup truck all day.

Tragic Day

The family's worst nightmare happened on Wednesday, May 23, after the father, Matt Baker, mistakenly left his youngest child, Katera, in a hot truck. According to Nashville police, he left his home on Virginia Avenue at around 7:30 a.m. He brought Katera and her older sister and intended to drop them off at a daycare center on Chapel Avenue.

He returned home at around 8:00 a.m. and shortly after parking, left in a hurry using a shared ride service. Mr. Baker then left for the airport and the city on a business trip. According to the authorities, the children's mother, Jenny Barker, entrusted her husband to take the kids to the daycare facility while she left for work in a separate vehicle.

It was not until late in the afternoon that Mrs. Baker found out that her husband had not dropped both of their kids at the facility. Only their 5-year-old daughter was there when she came to pick them up. She called her husband and realized that Katera was still in the back of the pickup truck.

Mrs. Baker called 911 at 5:42 p.m. just as she pulled into her driveway. She saw the 1-year-old still strapped to her car seat. She immediately got her out of the hot car and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.

Ongoing Investigation

Paramedics rushed Katera to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. However, they pronounced her dead on arrival. The young child had been in the truck for so long when the temperature in Nashville reportedly reached 89 degrees on that tragic day.

Mr. Baker immediately flew back home to Nashville and arrived late in the evening. Investigations regarding the incident are still ongoing and that "no charges are being placed at present." According to detectives, both parents "have been fully cooperative" on the investigation. The police said that the District Attorney's Office is receiving updates as the investigation continues.

It is not rare to hear of heat-related deaths among children. According to kidsandcars.org, an average of 37 children dies from heat stroke each year. The scenarios that lead to the child's death differ. It is either the parents or a relative forget that they have a small child in the back seat. At times, kids accidentally trap themselves when they sneak inside a parked car during playtime and accidentally hit the lock button. It is imperative that parents discuss this hazard with their kids to avoid casualties.

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