The death of a 1-year-old South Carolina boy trapped inside a hot car underscores the importance of never leaving a child alone in a sealed car, even for a moment.
Greenville, South Carolina’s WHNS reported that Crista McElhannon said her son Joe “Jojo” Lockaby was at his grandmother’s house for a sleepover May 31 when he took a short nap but woke up irritable.
The grandmother loaded Jojo up in the car. Her plan was to take her grandson to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal – something that the two of them often enjoyed doing.
But once Jojo was secured in the car, the grandmother realized that she had left her car keys in the house and went back to get them.
According to WHNS, she “didn’t even make it two steps into the house when she passed out, having suffered from” an unspecified medical emergency. When she regained consciousness, she rushed back to the car, removed Jojo, and called 911.
Jojo was unresponsive but was still able to breathe. Emergency dispatchers told the grandmother to administer CPR until an ambulance got there but she didn’t know how. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
Jojo Lockaby’s death was the second hot car death to occur in South Carolina this year. There have been 12 deaths nationwide, with two each in Texas, Virginia, and South Carolina and one each in Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio.
Sadly, the number of children who died in hot cars this year is about one-third of the average total deaths reported in the U.S. annually. According to Kids and Cars, a child safety organization, 37 children die every year on average by being forgotten in a car. Some children die by accidentally locking themselves in a car or trunk.
It doesn’t have to be scorching hot outside for temperatures inside a car to become deadly in a matter of minutes. If it’s 86 degrees outside, it takes just 10 minutes for a car’s internal temperature to reach 105 degrees and 30 minutes to reach 120.