Toddler's car death investigated

The case of a three-year-old child who died after being left locked in a hot car last week is now with the Police and investigations are ongoing, the Commissioner has confirmed.

Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil, said surprisingly the case was not immediately reported to the Police by Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital (TTM) staff.

With the ongoing investigation so far, it is unsure whether or not an autopsy is needed.

Hospital sources told the Samoa Observer that the child was rushed by family to the hospital’s  Emergency Department from her home in Vaiusu, after she was found in an old vehicle parked outside in the hot sun with all windows and doors locked.

"[We are] unsure how long she was there for," the medical officer said. "There was no heartbeat, no spontaneous breathing and [...] and they did 6 cycles of [resuscitation] in E.D. before they could successfully get a heart beat."

The toddler was pronounced dead on March 6, 2020 at 12.50pm in the Intensive Care Unit.

The Police have been to the scene and interviewed many, including doctors, to try and determine how the incident came about, Fuiavailiili added.

"We've already been to the scene, we're talking to the doctors and we've interviewed a lot of people on that case, so we're trying to make some sense into that case right now so it's still an ongoing investigation," he said. "It wasn't reported to us right away, we just heard about it and then we responded to the hospital [and] we're taking to see exactly what happened."

The Commissioner said he was surprised the Police were not alerted by the hospital. 

"But it's just surprising that we were not notified right away by the hospital and we know that they came back on that one, especially if it's under these circumstances," he said.

Describing the incident as “unacceptable”, he reminded parents to not leave their children unattended.

"And for any parent and adult with kids, you've got to be very careful. You’ve got to know where your kids are and there's a lot of things that could happen to a child when you don't pay attention and let them do what they really do on their own," he said.

"Especially when leaving a child in a car, that is unacceptable. It's very sad for something like this but there's so many other things that could happen to a child if you don't watch them all the time.

"And once they're in there, it's hard to reverse these things and this is the ultimate result is something like this, they can't take it back and it's so bad."

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