11 July 2024

A 7-year-old school girl was found dead in a school van yesterday (Tuesday) at a school in the eastern province of Chon Buri, having been locked in the vehicle from morning until about 4pm.

The driver of the van found the girl lying face down and unconscious a rear seat, when he went to fetch the vehicle from the school carpark at about 4pm to take some students home after class. Her backpack and a glass of water were found in the back row.

The driver then quickly alerted teachers, who rushed to the van and found the child already dead. The teachers then alerted the district hospital, which sent an ambulance.

The victim’s mother told the media that three teachers went to see her at home to inquire about whether the girl had any underlying diseases and were, initially, reluctant to tell her about her daughter’s death.

When she was finally told, she said she was shocked and speechless. She vowed, however, that she will pursue the case against those responsible for the negligence which led to her daughter’s death.

The victim’s body has been sent to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the Police General Hospital in Bangkok for an autopsy.

 

Over 120 cases of children locked in cars reported in 6 years in Thailand

According to statistics, compiled by the Disease Control Department regarding small children being left in locked vehicles from 2014-2020, 129 cases were reported and, out of these, six had died.

The children ranged in ages from 2 to 6, with 38% involving children aged just two. Of the six deaths, five died in school buses and one died in the car of a teacher. All had fallen asleep in the locked vehicles, which had been left in uncovered carparks for more than six hours.

According to Associate Professor Dr. Adisak Plitponkarnpim, director of the National Institute for Child and Family Development, a child will stop breathing if left inside a vehicle for about two hours, whether it is in the sun or not.

If a car is exposed to sunlight for about half an hour, the interior temperature will rise to about 42oC, which will lead to heat stroke, and the person will fall unconscious, stop breathing and, eventually, die.