As news on Tuesday broke of the death of a Shelby Township toddler due to heat stroke, many in the community wondered how it could have happened.
James Everett Lawrence Nelson, 2, was left in a hot car with the windows rolled up for several hours on Tuesday and died. Shelby Township Police held a press conference on Wednesday to share some information on the case, but had no new information to offer on Thursday. As of Wednesday, no charges had been filed related to the case.
Jan Null, a meteorologist, lecturer, and researcher at San Francisco State University, offered information on heat stroke deaths of children in vehicles on on Thursday. Null said that this research was published in a 2005 Pediatrics journal and is kept up-to-date online at ggweather.com/heat.
- Nelson's death is the 33rd hyperthermia (i.e., heatstroke) death nationwide this year and the second in Michigan.
- Last year there were a total of 33 juvenile vehicular hyperthermia deaths nationwide with none in Michigan.
- The last heatstroke death of a child in a vehicle in Michigan was in Romulus in July 2013.
- Since 1998, at least 594 infants and children have died in hot vehicles in the United States and sadly eight of those have been in Michigan.
- Even with an outside air temperature of about 76 degrees on Tuesday, the inside air temperature of the car could have been near 120 degrees. A person or objects in direct sun would be significantly hotter.