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Child's death in hot car tragedy first for Las Vegas in nearly two years

Police investigate a child’s death Saturday, July 15, 2017, at The Grandview at Las Vegas, 9940 Las Vegas Blvd. South. (Robert Varela/KSNV)

A total of 21 children have died nationwide after being left in hot cars, according to the child advocate group Kids and Cars. This weekend, Las Vegas experienced its first fatality of this kind in roughly two years.

Chase Lee, a 3-year-old boy from Fillmore, Utah, died after police say he was forgotten in a family car for more than an hour Saturday. It happened at the Grandview Resort, and police say the temperature inside the car reached 170 degrees.

“At this time, it just appears that it's a tragic accident,” said Lt. Roger Price of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “We have a very large family who came to town and appears to have maybe lost track of one of the juveniles. Unfortunately, by the time they figured out what had already happened ... too much time had already elapsed.”

It was too late to save the toddler – as was the case for 21 children across the country so far this year.

RELATED | 3-year-old left in car at Grandview of Las Vegas dies of heat-related injuries

“Probably the worst thing a parent could do is to think that this can’t happen to them,” said Amber Andreasen of the group Kids and Cars. She urges everyone to “look before you lock” and recommends people leave personal bags, laptops, cell phones, etc., in the back seat to create another reminder.

“The inside of a vehicle acts like a greenhouse, and it heats up very quickly. And a child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adults,” Andreasen said. “So when you combine those two factors you've got a recipe for disaster.”

The group is also pushing federal legislation that requires cars to include built-in reminders when children are in the backseat.

“Education and awareness are simply not enough,” said Andreasen.

According to KidsandCars.org, about one third of “hot car tragedies” happens when a child gets into a car on his or her own.

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