Tragedy averted by quick thinking citizens

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Davin Eldridge – Contributing Writer

Investigators are looking into a case of possible child neglect, after an infant was found locked in a vehicle Monday afternoon in downtown Franklin.

The incident was reported to authorities at approximately 2:20 p.m., in the parking lot behind Outdoor 76, alongside Main Street. Details are scarce, as the child is only estimated to be some 4 to 5 months old, according to Franklin Police Chief David Adams. A full report is unavailable to the public, due to the infant’s age.

“It’s good that people brought it to our attention,” said Adams. “Anytime someone from the public suspects a child to be in danger, we need to know about it.”

The infant was reportedly left inside a mid-sized minivan for about 30 minutes. The temperature inside the van had reached approximately 80 degrees. The incident was reported by a handful of women who happened to be passing by, none of whom were named by authorities.

What constitutes child endangerment can’t be so easily answered, according to Adams, as it depends on numerous variables.

“It’s very touch-and-go,” he said. “Officers need to assess the situation for themselves upon arrival. Things like is it substantiated by intent, neglect, motive, do the parents have a prior history with the Department of Social Services–they’re all factors. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it isn’t so cut-and-dry.”

Adams said the child’s parents arrived on scene a few short minutes later, and indicated that it was an honest mistake that they were gone so long. The case was handed over to DSS, who is now investigating the case.

Hard facts about heatstroke

• On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car.

• A car can heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help. • Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. Top tips for preventing heatstroke Reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT.

• Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Always lock your doors and trunks – even in your driveway. And keep your keys and key fobs out of the reach of kids.

• Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

• Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life. Taken from safekids.org

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