Four kids taken to Indy hospital after being shut in car about an hour
10:17 PM, Aug. 2, 2012 |
Nasebah Khiat, 24, was arrested on a preliminary child neglect charge Thursday after her four children were found in a hot, closed-up car on the Indianapolis Far Westside. / Photo provided by IMPD
Four children were found in a hot car in Indianapolis on Thursday, at least the eighth such case in the Indianapolis metropolitan area this summer and bringing to 12 the number of children jeopardized by the life-threatening conditions of an enclosed car.
The four children in Thursday’s incident were expected to be OK, but a 4-month-old girl died last month after she was forgotten in an SUV.
Prosecutors in several counties are reviewing the cases, and the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday decided to file a D-felony charge of neglect of a child in a July 23 Noblesville case.
Pooja Harshit Thakkar is scheduled for an initial court appearance at 1:15 p.m. today.
In Thursday’s case, four children between 3 months and 5 years old were found in a car with the windows rolled up about 2:38 p.m. at 1209 South High School Road after someone called 911.
Police arrived as the children’s’ mother and father were getting into the car and officers stopped them. The 3-month-old was “sweating profusely,” said Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Kendale Adams.
All four children were taken to IU Health West Hospital in Avon, but were not thought to have life-threatening conditions.
Mohammad Abdulaziz, 30, and Nasebah Khiat, 24, both Indianapolis, were arrested on one preliminary charge of child neglect. They were still being booked late Thursday at the Arrestee Processing Center. The initial report was that they had been in a grocery store.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, the official temperature was 93 degrees and by 3 p.m. had risen to 97 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.
In previous cases locally, external temperatures in that range have led to closed cars reaching internal temperatures of 110 degrees or more, officials have said. It was not immediately known whether the internal temperature of the car where the four children were found was measured, but police said they had been in the car about an hour.
But children don’t have be in such conditions long for serious health problems to develop, said Dr. Sandra Schwab, a pediatric emergency room physician at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent. Kids are more vulnerable than adults, she said.
“Even if you could sit in a car for 5 or 10 minutes, a child reacts differently,” Schwab said.
Children’s bodies can’t cool off sufficiently and the temperature of their bodies and internal organs rises. That means the chemical balance of cells and organs gets out of whack, and they can’t do their jobs properly. For instance, muscles might begin cramping and the kidneys could quit producing urine, which could mean toxins — poisons — back up into the body, she said.
At some point, a child could become unconscious and delirious.
There’s no hard dividing line between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, or definite timetable on the progression and physical danger, Schwab said. But the arc is measured in minutes, not hours.
Like police, other medical professionals and regular citizens, Schwab said she’s baffled that children still are being left locked in hot cars. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that’s a dangerous situation, she said.
“It seems like common sense to me,” she said. “I didn’t realize this was such a medical issue.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 500 children nationwide have died from being left in hot cars since 1998,
Here’s a rundown of this summer’s cases of children left in hot cars in the Indianapolis metropolitan area:
>> Aug. 1: Roni Rose Penn, 34, was arrested on a preliminary child neglect charge after she left her 4-year-old son in a car for 30 minutes in the parking lot of a Super Target in Fishers.
>> July 23: Two infants were left in cars on a day when the high temperature was 102.
A 6-month-old baby boy was left in an SUV parked in front of his Eastside home in the 500 block of DeQuincy Street. His father, Trevor Gaines, was arrested, but computer records to not indicate the Marion County prosecutor filed formal charges.
Earlier the same day, 11-month-old baby girl was found in the car at a Noblesville shopping center and her mother is due in court today.
>> July 7: Meg Trueblood, 30, faced neglect of a dependent charges after she was accused of leaving her 16-month-old in a vehicle in the parking lot while she shopped at a Fishers clothing store. That child suffered a seizure and was taken to the hospital but survived. Trueblood has been charged with neglect of a dependent.
The same day, Joshua Stryzinski forgot his 4-month-old daughter in his car as he visited his parents’ Greenfield home. She was in the car for several hours, had suffered third-degree burns and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Stryzinski, 18, was charged with neglect of a dependent.
>> June 5: Charise N. Jones, 29, was arrested after leaving her 9-year-old and 1-year-old daughters alone in a car while she attended a job fair at the State Fairgrounds. She was arrested on two preliminary charges of neglect of a dependent, released several hours after booking and ultimately was not charged by Marion County prosecutors.
>> June 4: Nicholet Bracey, 26, was arrested after she left her 4-year-old son in the car while she attended a work meeting at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center. The car's windows were rolled down, and the Marion County prosecutor's office did not charge Bracey.
If a child is seriously injured, a neglect charge often is a Class B felony; if a child dies, it becomes a more serious Class A felony.