Police say the baby was in the care of a 21-year-old female cousin who works at the Ivy Hall Day Care at 1730 Tuscan Heights Blvd. in Kennesaw, near the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Old Highway 41. The child was sleeping when the 21-year-old went into work around noon on Wednesday, Cobb Firefighter Denell Boyd said.
Police and fire crews were called to the scene at 5:51 p.m., and staff members from the center were performing CPR on the child inside the day care center when fire crews arrived, Boyd said. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene, Kennesaw police said.
The high temperature Wednesday was about 89 degrees.
No charges have been filed, although the investigation is ongoing, Kennesaw police Officer Scott Luther said.
"Right now it appears that she probably got distracted, she probably took some stuff into the day care and got distracted and forgot," Luther said. "With the baby asleep, being quiet - and she's probably not used to caring for the child - she probably forgot."
Luther said Kennesaw Police were not prepared to release the name of the baby or her 21-year-old cousin because the family is "extremely distraught."
"I believe two or three (family members) had to be transported to the hospital yesterday, so right now we're trying to show some respect to them" Luther said.
The baby would have been five months old on Saturday, according to Boyd.
Calls to Ivy Hall Day Care on Thursday went unanswered.
Jan Null, an adjunct professor of meteorology at San Francisco State University who specializes in the dynamics of how hot vehicles can get and tracking hyperthermia deaths of children left in vehicles, said according to her research, yesterday's incident in Kennesaw was the fifth case this year in the nation of a child dying of hyperthermia after being left in a car.
Last year, there were a total of 49 children deaths nationwide as a result of being left in a car, with three of those cases being in Georgia.
When the temperature outside is 90 degrees, Null said, the temperature inside a car can reach as high as 135.
Luther recalled a case similar to the one on Wednesday that occurred in May 2009, when a 56-year-old babysitter left a small child in her minivan while she was in a Kennesaw gas station playing video poker games.
The babysitter was arrested after a patrol officer found the unattended child in the backseat of the van behind the gas station. The child was left in the car for about 15 minutes and the windows in the van were slightly cracked.
While the child did not die, the sitter, Susan Betancourt, was charged with second-degree cruelty to children, a felony. However, in Betancourt's case, the child was not left in the car by accident.
"Apparently she just put the poker games ahead of the child," Luther said.
According to records from the Cobb Solicitor General's Office, Betancourt's felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. She pleaded guilty and was placed on probation, given a $200 fine and 40 hours of community service.
Cobb Police Spokesman Dana Pierce said he and investigators could not remember any cases like the death of the 4-month-old.
There was, however, a case involving a 7-month-old Austell boy who died after being placed too close to a space heater in December 2009.
According to the arrest warrant, the boy's mother, Seron Edshon Shepherd, put the infant in a battery-powered swing and "placed a space heater in close enough proximity to cause second and third degree burns" to the child. The baby was left unattended and subjected to extreme heat for seven hours. Preliminary autopsy reports indicate the baby boy died of "cardiac dysrythmia associated with hyperthermia" from the heat.
At the time of her arrest, Shepherd was charged with second degree cruelty to a child and contributing to the deprivation of a minor, both felonies. Misdemeanor charges include involuntary manslaughter, three counts of contributing to the deprivation of a minor and three counts of reckless conduct.
Shepherd was indicted by a Cobb Grand on Thursday. Her charges were unknown by press time.
The website KidsandCars.org is dedicated to preventing parents and caregivers from leaving children in and around cars, and lobbies for increased car safety for children. For more information on how to prevent this danger, visit kidsandcars.org.