'Tragic accident': Fairfax County police say 5-year-old's car death was likely heat-related

A child is dead after being found unresponsive in a vehicle in Fairfax County. Police say heat likely played a role. 

Officers say it’s possible the five-year-old child was left inside the car for several hours. Police are not saying if the child was a boy or girl. However, FOX 5 has learned the child was rushed to the hospital by EMS but it was just too late.

Police got the call at around 3:30 p.m. about an unconscious child. When they arrived at the home in Springfield, first responders performed CPR and took the child to the hospital. 

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Police say early in the day a parent drove the five-year-old and several young siblings home. They say the siblings got out of the vehicle but the five-year-old was left inside, strapped into a car seat. 

The car was blocked off with crime scene tape and eventually towed from the home. Right now, officials say it appears to be a terrible accident.

"Our hearts break for this family," said Lt. John Lieb with the Fairfax County Police. "This is a tragedy and again our officers responded to what was reported as a tragic accident and at this point, there has been nothing in the very preliminary, early stages of our detective's investigation that would cause us to doubt that."

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Police say an autopsy will be performed but it is likely heat played a role. The temperature in Springfield reached the mid-90s this afternoon. Police say it’s possible the child was left inside the car for several hours and they’re warning parents to stay aware.

 "I would encourage anyone when operating a motor vehicle, especially with children, to avoid distractions at all times, set up a safety plan with you and your loved one or a childcare provider to make sure that there’s a system in place to avoid tragic cases like this, tragic circumstances that would result in a child being left behind," Lt. Lieb said. 

Police say right now the family is understandably extremely distraught over this so they’re still waiting to get more details.