(SPARTANBURG, S.C.) -- A 3-year-old boy has died after he was left in a hot car in Spartanburg, South Carolina, authorities said.
When officers responded to a home around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, the boy's guardian told them that he was mistakenly left in the car, Spartanburg police said. She said she thought she dropped the 3-year-old off at day care with her other children that morning, but didn't notice he hadn't gone inside with them until later that day, police said.
The woman said she called 911 as soon as she found the boy in the back of her SUV, police said.
The preliminary autopsy found that the boy died from heat, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said. Spartanburg reached a high of 92 degrees Wednesday.
Police said the investigation is ongoing but it appears that the boy's death was accidental.
The boy, whose name was not released, was in foster care, Clevenger said. Authorities are working to reach his biological mother, he said.
This marks the sixth child to die in a hot car in the U.S. this year, according to national nonprofit Kids and Car Safety.
A record 54 children died in hot cars in 2018, followed by 53 fatalities in 2019, according to Kids and Car Safety. Twenty-five children died in hot cars last year, a drop which director Amber Rollins attributed to the pandemic.
"Hot car deaths continue to take place because nobody believes this could happen to them," Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Car Safety, said in a statement. "The unfortunate reality is that this has happened to even the most loving, responsible, and attentive parents. Factors such as fatigue, stress, or a sudden change in routine can contribute to parents unknowingly leaving a child alone in a car."