A toddler has died and her one-year-old sister is fighting for her life after they got into their mum’s boiling hot car.
Kaylee Petchenik, 21, had woken up from a nap to find her daughters missing and called the police around 2pm on Monday.
An Arkansas State Police officer found Laykn, three, and 15-month-old Olivia both unconscious on the car’s back floor board.
Temperatures in Booneville during the incident were well above 30C, with the vehicle parked outside the family home.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has warned children are put at risk of heat stroke and potentially death if left in hot vehicles.
Laykn was taken to a hospital in Booneville where she was pronounced dead, while Olivia was taken to Little Rock and remains in a critical condition, police have confirmed.
The three-year-old’s body has been taken to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for post mortem.
“Both are the apparent victims of heat while they were inside a car parked outside their mother’s home in Booneville yesterday,” a police statement said.
It is unclear how they both ended up in the car.
Neighbour Matthew Wood told 5News how Kaylee had approached him while he sat on his porch around 11am as she frantically searched for her children.
He said the young mum works overnight shifts and said she had locked her door before taking a nap.
Police continue to investigate the circumstances of the incident and will submit a file to prosecutors in due course.
At which time the Logan County prosecuting attorney will decide whether to press charges.
A GoFundMe page to pay for Laykn’s funeral aims to raise $5,000.
In August last year, a two-year-old boy also died after he was found critically ill inside a hot car.
Police were called after the toddler was spotted in an unattended parked car in Kansas.
Officers from the Lawrence Police Department smashed their way into the vehicle but the boy, identified as DéVonté Lashawn Turner, could not be saved.
According to the National Safety Council, there have been 11 hot car deaths in 2020.