CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A makeshift memorial is growing in Chesterfield after a second infant has died after being left in a hot SUV. The infants were 4-month-old twins.
Emergency crews responded to the 2400 block of Alfalfa Lane at the Bellwood Maisonettes around 2:30 p.m. Thursday and found the infants unconscious. They were taken to Chippenham Medical Center, where both later died.
Police continue to investigate the case. Unfortunately, cases like these happen far too often.
"Her kids are her world," a family friend said.
She describes the twins she used to see every day.
"They were beautiful. Bundles of joy. Blessings," the neighbor said before breaking out in tears.
Neighbors are distraught, and so are the children's relatives, who declined to speak about the situation - only calling it a mistake and a "terrible tragedy."
"The temperature in a vehicle increases about 19 degrees in 10 minutes," said Registered Nurse Korri Miller-Hobbs of the VCU Children's Hospital.
She wants all parents to be aware of the danger.
"Children don't regulate their temperature as well as adults do, so their temperature can increase three to five times faster as adults," she added.
Miller-Hobbs says a change in routine is why some parents forget they have kids in the car. Her advice - set reminders for yourself.
"For ladies - if you carry a purse or a backpack, put that in the back seat so then you have to get out and get that item when you get to your destination, and you see whether your child is back there or not. For gentlemen - it might be a lunch box. It might be a briefcase. It might be a basketball," Miller-Hobbs said.
No one wants to experience the tragedy that's left this neighborhood in grief.
"They are great parents. It's unfortunate what happened, but they're not as bad as everyone is trying to make it seem or how it looks. They're really outstanding. They're brilliant. They're nice to everyone," the family friend added.
Safety advocates say if you ever see children left inside of a car, stop what you're doing and call 911. They also suggest you wait with the children until police arrive to make sure they're okay.
Experts say Virginia ranks in the top 20 of states with the most hot car deaths - with two dozen cases since 2001.
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