Dubai: A three-year-old boy is dead because he was left forgotten inside a baking hot car.
The Yemeni toddler suffocated inside his family car on Friday in Ras Al Khaimah. He had been left behind for three hours in the car parked in the garage. The family had returned home around 2pm after an outing.
The temperature had soared to around 43C on Friday in Ras Al Khaimah, typical of the brutal UAE summer. But what the child felt inside the car would have been much worse.
A 2008 study by the University of Western Australia said that temperatures in parked cars may reach up to 25 degrees Celsius more than the temperature outside the car on a typical sunny day.
Sadly, Friday’s shocking incident is not unheard of in the UAE. A number of other children have met a similar tragic end over the years. And residents again face a familiar, morbid question – will there be more such tragedies this summer?
The deadly convergence of circumstances has spelled disaster for families in the UAE and abroad – a lapse by guardians, a locked car, a tender life left behind – all under an unforgiving sun.
The Yemeni boy’s family had only realised he was missing in the backseat three hours after they had stepped out of the vehicle and walked into the comfort of their home.
But it had been too late. The unconscious boy died on the way to hospital, where an official said he had died from suffocation and heat.
Police have ruled out any foul play.
This severe emotional pain has afflicted other UAE parents too.
In July 2012, a five-year-old Emirati girl died after her grandmother forgot her in the car for almost two hours while she was visiting a friend in Umm Al Quwain. The grandmother had thought she had gone out with her other grandchildren to the corner shop. She had been tragically mistaken.
The girl’s motionless body was found inside the car after a search; she was pronounced dead at the site.
Earlier, in June 2012, a three-year-old Emirati boy died after his family forgot him in the car for almost four hours in Kalba. Again, a lifeless body was carried out from the chocking heat of a car.
It is not just parents or families who suffer blame and guilt; there have been cases of schoolchildren who never made it back home.
In May 2009, a four- year-old Pakistani girl studying in an Abu Dhabi kindergarten died after being inadvertently locked inside a private bus for at least three hours. Her father, who had been frantically looking for her, had finally received a call — to come to the parked bus. He had to see his motionless child slumped on the backseat.
Another four-year-pupil died after he was left locked in his kindergarten van in Abu Dhabi in April 2008.
A year earlier from that incident, in May 2007, a four-year-old girl died of suffocation as she slept in her father’s car in sizzling temperatures for 45 minutes in Al Ain. She had slipped back inside the car unnoticed as the family hurriedly prepared for Friday prayers.
Al Ain had then been the country’s hottest spot for several days with maximum temperatures reaching above 45C in the daytime.
The temperature can reach 55C in a car parked under the sun for just 30 minutes, a police official had said.
Reports of such incidents have made headlines in the local and regional press, leaving residents shocked – and bewildered at why the tragedies strike almost every summer.
Authorities and experts have been vocal about keeping a close eye on children, especially in such harsh weather.