Tampa Bay-area police have arrested a woman for leaving her 19-month-old daughter in a car while she shopped.
Sgt. Adam Geissenberger says witnesses alerted Pinellas Park Police that Vita Abramenkova had left her child in a locked, running vehicle for 40 minutes Monday afternoon.
Geissenberger says the car's air conditioning was circulating on low while the temperature in the parking lot was 92 degrees. The child was found crying inside the vehicle.
Geissenberger says Abramenkova told police her daughter was asleep when they arrived at the store and she didn't want to rouse the child.
Abramenkova was charged with child neglect. She was released on $2,000 bond. Pinellas County jail records did not show whether she had an attorney.
As The Christian Science Monitor reported recently, according to the kidsandcars.org web site, the number of heat stroke-related deaths was 44 in 2013.
And for those kids who don’t die in cars, there may still be serious consequences for parents who leave their children alone in vehicles. In June, Salon.com published an article about one mother's split-second decision to leave her young son in the car, and the criminal case brought against her because another parent reported her to authorities (in this instance, it was a cool, cloudy day, no heat risk involved).
These stories can give parents pause – and prompt them to search for solutions. According to some sources, about half of all hot-car child deaths are the result of parents (often the parent who doesn't usually transport the child to day care or shopping) forgetting the child is in the car.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Safe Kids Worldwide recommend that parents never leave children unattended in a car, even for a minute. They also suggest that parents place a reminder for themselves inside the car to prompt them to check the back seat. Finally, parents should teach children to not play inside cars.