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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Idaho State Police investigating toddler’s death in hot car at Rathdrum home

Idaho State Police are investigating the death of a toddler inside a hot car at a Rathdrum home Sunday evening.

State police detectives responded to a home on the 15500 block of North Gray Street at about 5:20 p.m. after the Rathdrum Police Department requested their help to investigate the death.

Investigators believe a 2-year-old boy was playing before being found in a family member’s car outside the home. The family called 911.

Local police attempted lifesaving measures, but the toddler died. It was about 92 degrees outside at the time.

The Kootenai County Coroner’s office will release the identity and establish the toddler’s cause and manner of death. When reached Monday , the coroner’s office said they didn’t have a timeline for that determination.

A child’s body temperature rises three to five time faster than an adult’s, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Heatstroke starts when the core body temperature reaches 104 degrees, and children can die once their temperature reaches 107 degrees.

Last year, 33 children died of heatstroke in vehicles in the U.S., down from record numbers of hot car deaths in 2018 and 2019, with 53 deaths in each of those years.

In some cases, children will get into an unlocked car parked at their home then be unable to get out, said Justin de Ruyter, a public information officer at the Spokane Fire Department.

He encouraged people to keep their cars locked even at home.

Cars heat up quickly, de Ruyter added. If it’s 85 degrees outside, temperatures in a car can reach 104 degrees within 10 minutes. At 95 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 114 degrees.

More than half of children who die from heatstroke are under 2 years old, according to NHTSA.

The incident remains under investigation, the state police said in a news release.