Suffolk police: Child found dead in Smithtown left unattended in hot vehicle for 8 hours
Police say a toddler died after being left unattended in a hot car for approximately eight hours in Smithtown.
According to police, a 54-year-old Greenlawn woman forgot to drop off her 14-month-old granddaughter at day care on July 31 and went to work. Police say the child was left in a car seat in the back seat.
The woman went to pick up the child at the day care, located on Redwood Lane in Smithtown, when she realized she had left the child in her vehicle.
The child was transported to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown where she was pronounced dead.
Family and friends mourned the loss of the girl named Chyasia Evans Tuesday with a vigil.
Everyone who came out was given a candle that they lit in honor of the child.
Family members say the baby’s mother is named Jessica. They say Jessica’s mother drove her to work and then was supposed to drop the child off at day care.
The grandmother went to work and around eight hours later realized the child was in the car.
“Now that she’s gone, she has left a hole in everybody’s heart I’m sure because that little girl touched so many people,” said a family friend of the baby.
Unfortunately, statistics say this is not an isolated incident. This incident marks the 15th child to die in a hot car nationwide this year and the second in New York.
Dr. Kristen Calabro, a pediatric surgeon at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, says common contributing factors to children being left in hot cars are due to parents and their fatigue or being in an autopilot routine where they forget. She says it can also happen when there is a change of caregiver.
Dr. Calabro suggests leaving an item that you rely on such as a cell phone or key in the back seat with your child. She says 55% of child deaths in hot cars occur with loving caregivers.
“I think the biggest misconception is this can’t happen to them, and I think everybody hears these stories and thinks, ‘Not my child, how could that happen?’” Calabro says. “But the reality is that it does happen to known, loving caregivers more frequently than not. That’s actually the biggest statistic.”
Dr. Calabro says not to leave a child unattended in a car for even more than a minute.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the child's family.