Mason hot-car death: Ohio has no law against leaving kids in car

2:43 p.m Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 Community News

Nineteen states have laws making it illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle, but Ohio does not, according to KidsAndCars.org, a child safety nonprofit.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell announced Wednesday no charges will be pursued against Karen Osorio-Martinez, the mother who left her daughter in a vehicle at the Procter & Gamble Mason Business Center on Aug. 23.

Sofia Aveiro, age 15 months, was pronounced dead after being left in the vehicle for about nine hours.

“There is no doubt Sofia’s mother made a horrible mistake,” Fornshell said. “We have found no evidence that the mother acted with heedless indifference.”

Ohio law does authorize Good Samaritans to force entry into a vehicle to rescue children and animals.

On average, 37 children die from heatstroke inside hot vehicles each year, according to research from San Jose State University. More than 700 children have died in vehicles due to heatstroke since 1998, the research found.

Since Sofia’s death less than a month ago, another three children died across the nation in Missouri, Louisiana and Georgia, according to NoHeatStroke.org, a group that tracks such deaths.

San Jose State University’s research found that of the heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles between 1998-2016, 54 percent of the children were “forgotten.” Of those, 44 percent were forgotten on the way to childcare or preschool.

Thirty-one percent of the children who died of heatstroke in vehicles since 1998 were below age one, according to the research.

A spokeswoman for P&G said the company continues to support the family. The company did not have additional information or a statement from the family.

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