Image: University photo: FCT, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Image: University photo: FCT, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Baby girl dies after being ‘forgotten’ in parked car

University lecturer father left daughter for over 7 hours in 26ºC heat

A 10-month-old baby girl died yesterday on a university campus in Almada after being ‘forgotten’ in a parked car.

The child’s father, a lecturer at the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, drove the car to within 100 metres of the campus creche at 8am, but “for undetermined reasons” did not take his daughter in as usual, “going straight to his office”, explains Correio da Manhã.

“The baby may have been asleep, and so in silence”.

The upshot was that she was left in the locked car “without the father or anyone else noticing (…) Outside temperatures reached 26ºC meaning they would easily have reached 50ºC inside the car. 

“By 3.30pm, more than seven hours later, the lecturer returned to his car, finding in horror his daughter unconscious on the back seat in her carrier seat”.

The stricken father did everything he could, but the child was unresponsive. Medical teams were called while resuscitation efforts were performed by a student who had firefighter training. All to no avail.

Death was declared at the campus, with the child’s body later being removed for autopsy as the car was towed away for forensic testing.

The parents – the mother arrived at the campus during the frantic activity to try and save her daughter – were both offered psychiatric support by INEM medical emergency services. Neither was in a condition to give any kind of statement.

Similar cases have been reported over the years, always coming down to the same thing: a tragic mistake by people with over-busy, often over-stressed, lives. ND