Police: 3-year-old's cause of death outside Gutermuth Elementary School unknown
Monday, April 18th 2016, 1:17 pm PDT
By Joey Brown, Digital Content Manager

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A 3-year-old child was pronounced dead outside Gutermuth Elementary School near Shively Monday afternoon after going into cardiac arrest, a Louisville Metro Police Department spokesman said.

The school is located at 1500 Sanders Lane.

Jefferson County Public Schools Communications Director Allison Gardiner Martin said carpool attendants at the school noticed an unresponsive child in the back of a van that had pulled into the carpool lane. Staff members and the school nurse immediately called 911 and began administering aid.

LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell said the child was in full cardiac arrest when he or she was found to be in distress. Mitchell said the cause of death is unclear. LMPD homicide detectives have launched a death investigation.

The incident was reported at 4:07 p.m.

The child's name and gender have not been released.

Coroner: 2-year-old died of high body temp
Matthew Glowicki, @MattGlo 4:38 p.m. EDT April 19, 2016

A coroner has determined a 2-year-old boy found unresponsive Monday inside the carpool lane at Gutermuth Elementary School died of hyperthermia, or abnormally high body temperature.

The child, Lavontae Swain, died shortly after 4 p.m. on scene, said deputy coroner Larry Carroll. He said the toddler's cause of death was "consistent with hyperthermia."

Louisville Metro Police responded Monday afternoon to Gutermuth Elementary School in southwest Louisville where they found the 2-year-old boy in cardiac arrest, said police spokesman Dwight Mitchell.

Monday's high of 87 degrees was unseasonably warm, marked the hottest day of 2016 so far and nearly broke a record high of 90 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Carpool attendants at the Jefferson County Public Schools site first noticed the unresponsive child in the back seat of a van that had pulled into the school's carpool lane, said Allison Martin, spokeswoman for JCPS.

The school district reported that staff called 911 and began administering CPR.

Louisville Metro Police is investigating the case as a death investigation, Mitchell said. LMPD originally said the child was 3-years-old. Police have not detailed the circumstances of the child's death.

A police spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon the investigation was ongoing and witness interviews were ongoing.

Gutermuth, in the Cloverleaf neighborhood at 1500 Sanders Lane, teaches students from kindergarten through fifth grade. The school's principal Laura Mullaney shared a note with parents Monday evening:

"Dear Gutermuth Family,

I'm very sorry to have to share heartbreaking news with you, but I wanted to reach out personally and provide you with facts about an event at Gutermuth Elementary today that you may have heard about on the news. During dismissal, a vehicle pulled into the carpool line and it was noticed that an unresponsive child was in the back of the vehicle. Staff and the school nurse immediately called 911 and began administering aid to the child. Sadly, the child passed away. Although the student was not a Gutermuth student, we are all thinking of the family. The counselors at the school will of course be here to support your child in any way that he/she may need."

The temperature inside cars can rise by 20 degrees in fewer than 10 minutes when temperatures are in the 70s, the NWS advises as part of its "Beat the Heat, Check the Backseat" initiative to prevent children dying in hot cars. The weather service gives the following safety tips:

Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
Cracking the windows provides little to no relief
If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately.
Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.
Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
Place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.

Hyperthermia is a common diagnosis in cases of children left inside hot cars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. National advocacy group KidsAndCars.org has documented 21 cases in Kentucky since 1993 where children have overheated inside vehicles.

Reporter Kirsten Clark contributed to this story. Reporter Matthew Glowicki can be reached at 502-582-4989 or mglowicki@courier-journal.com.