2-year-old boy dies after being left in hot car

BRANDON, Fla. -- A 2-year-old boy died Tuesday afternoon after being left in a vehicle for several hours on Tuesday morning while in the care of his half-sister, according to authorities.

About 9 a.m., the relative had the child when they parked near 731 Lumsden Road W., the Oak Park Shopping Center in Brandon, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon. The half-sister returned about 2:30 p.m. and noticed the child.

The aunt took the unconscious child to a nearby dialysis center for aid, and medical workers there tried to help. Hillsborough Fire Rescue arrived and took the boy to Brandon Regional Hospital.

He was pronounced dead around 5:20 p.m.

Investigators are interviewing the half-sister.

McKinnon added that as of 4 p.m. investigators were looking for the parents.

He added that it is a criminal investigation.

Boy left in SUV for more than five hours in a Brandon parking lot has died
By Anastasia Dawson, Times Staff Writer

BRANDON — A two-year-old boy died Tuesday after being left in an SUV for more than 5 hours at a Brandon shopping center, authorities said.

The child's half-sister, who works at a nearby day care center and left him in the vehicle, is in custody, said Hillsborough Sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon. He said investigators are consulting with the state attorney's office about possible charges.

The woman, Fiorella Vanessa Silva-Tello, 21, left the child locked inside the vehicle at 9 a.m. when she went to work and didn't discover her mistake until she went on break at 2:30 p.m., McKinnon said.

"The relative, as you can imagine, very upset, very distraught, removed the child,'' he said, and took him to a nearby dialysis center for aid. "The medical personnel inside that facility attempted to render aid to the child until fire-rescue got here.''

Jacob Manchego, of 1702 Village Court in Brandon, was then taken to Brandon Regional Hospital where he died.

While the child was inside the car parked at the Oak Park Plaza shopping center, the engine was not running and there was no air-conditioning, McKinnon said. Temperatures in the Tampa area reached the mid-80s on Tuesday.

"It doesn't take long for these cars to overheat and a child is going to end up suffering from that heat in a relatively quick amount of time,'' said McKinnon, who said the child's parents have been notified.

The shopping center is located at the intersection of W Lumsden Road and Kings Avenue. Silva-Tello worked at BFFkidz, a day care center there. A sign posted outside the day care center says, "Look before you lock. Never leave a child alone in a car.''

"Check the back seat, check your vehicles before you go inside -- those campaigns have been throughout the country yet we continue to still see this tragic thing happen,'' McKinnon said. "This certainly should be a reminder of what we need to do when transporting our children.''

How to prevent hot car deaths

Here are some ways to help protect your children.

Leave your purse, wallet, briefcase or cell phone next to the car seat. You likely won't get far from your vehicle before realizing one of them is not with you.

Try the stuffed-animal method. When the car seat is empty, place a stuffed animal in it. When your child is in the car seat, place the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat.

Check in with childcare. Have your childcare provider call if your child does not show up, or develop a system with your partner in which one of you calls the other after a drop-off.

Get technology that helps. Mobile traffic app Waze added a "child reminder" option this summer that tells users to check their car for children, pets and loved ones when they arrive at their destination. And Tampa company Sense a Life (sensealife.com) is taking pre-orders on its devices that alert a driver if he or she left a child in the car through its app.

Use drive-thrus. Avoid the temptation to leave your child in a car, even if just for a minute, by using drive-up banks and restaurants and paying for gas at the pump.

Tips compiled from Times staff, archives, National Safety Council and noheatstroke.org.