The tragedy of children dying in overheated cars has claimed another victim after a toddler was found dead by his mum after his dad passed out drunk.
Two-year-old Nathan Hubert's lifeless body was found by his mum in the family vehicle where he had been trapped in temperatures of up to 57C for two hours.
His dad, Wayne Hubert, 32, had gone into their home and was so drunk he fell asleep. Now he has been charged with causing his son's death and also with with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child because his four-year-old daughter was at home when he was passed out. He was released on $250,000 bail on Saturday.
The county coroner has said 23-month-old Nathan had a temperature of 40C when paramedics arrived at the incident in O'Farrell, Illinois, U.S.
The temperature that day was above 32C. Police said Hubert took Nathan out to his vehicle, a black Hyundai Elantra four-door with a dark-coloured interior, at about 2:30pm with plans to make a trip.
But he had 'consumed alcohol to a level which caused him to pass out'.
The boy's mother came home about 5pm and the child was found strapped into his car seat. Only one of the windows in the vehicle was cranked open.
When police arrived at the home, the mother was in the yard cradling her son and wailing. Nathan was pronounced dead at the scene.
O'Fallon police Chief John Betten told STLToday.com: "As a result of that long of an exposure in the 90s for somebody less than two, the consequences were going to be dire."
On average, 38 children die in the United States each year because they are either forgotten and left inside a vehicle or manage to get inside without anyone knowing and then cannot get back out.
Over the weekend, a three-year-old boy in Florida died after his parents accidentally left him in the car while they were attending a funeral. Kyrese Anderson was pronounced dead after spending about three hours in the back of the hot car.
Earlier this month, a five-month-old baby girl died after being left in a minivan for hours.