Personal Injury

Change in daily routine led to baby’s car-entrapment death, Miami authorities say

The father of a 6-month old girl who died after being left inside a hot car for several hours will not be charged in his daughter’s death.

Miami-Dade police say that a change in Lazaro Ramos’ daily routine is ultimately to blame for the baby’s death. Mr. Ramos strapped Rosalyn Ramos into her rear-facing car seat Tuesday morning before taking his 5-year-old son to school. After dropping the boy off at Doral Academy Preparatory School, however, Mr. Ramos proceeded to work instead of dropping his daughter off at a day-care center.

The baby’s lifeless body wasn’t discovered until Mr. Ramos picked his son up from school nine hours later. The boy climbed into the back seat and discovered that his sister wasn’t responsive.

Mr. Ramos told detectives that taking care of baby Rosalyn, who neighbors say he called “muñequita” or “little doll” wasn’t part of his usual daily routine. Authorities decided not to file charges against Mr. Ramos on Wednesday.

According to the Miami Herald, acquaintances say the family is “destroyed” by Rosalyn’s tragic death. “They were obsessed with this little girl. They were crazy about her,” neighbor Ana Arias told the Miami Herald.

Rosalyn was the 29th child to die from being trapped alone in a hot vehicle this year and the third in South Florida. Tragically, car entrapment deaths like this one are quite common, especially amid the busyness and distractions of modern life. More than 550 cases have been reported since 1998, with Florida being second to Texas in the number of such car-entrapment deaths, the Miami Herald reported.

“This is not something that these families ever recover from,” Amber Rollins, director of Kids and Cars, an organization that aims to prevent non-traffic, car-related deaths, told the Miami Herald. “There’s nothing worse than the death of a child, but when a parent — the person who loves them most — is responsible, that’s the only thing that could be worse,” she added, explaining that even the most caring and responsible of parents can experience lapses in judgment, which can have tragic consequences.

Extreme stress and lack of sleep contribute to a change in brain function, but the leading factor in such deaths is a change in daily routine, Rollins told the Herald. Willful negligence plays a role in a small percentage of such child deaths.

Children younger than age 2 have accounted for more than half of deaths from hyperthermia (heat stroke) since 1998, according to a San Francisco State University.

According to the Miami Herald, parents may not legally leave a child unattended in a car for more than 15 minutes. Anything longer than that results in a small fine. In 19 other states, however, such accidental deaths result in criminal charges.

A number of companies make detectors designed to warn parents when children are left alone in cars, but safety officials warn the devices are ineffective.

Sources:

Miami Herald
Washington Post