- Michael Dodes, a Bronx school librarian, left his young daughter in a sweltering car, leading to a dramatic rescue.
- Cases of children left in hot cars persist in New York, often leading to tragic outcomes throughout the year.
- Professionals emphasize the rapid danger of heat in enclosed vehicles, with even short durations proving potentially fatal.
Another child was left locked in a car during the hot New York summer: this time, it was a 1-year-old baby girl who was abandoned yesterday for 5.5 hours in the Bronx by her father, an employee of the Walter J. Damrosch Public School.
The baby’s father was arrested and identified as Michael Dodes, 41. According to NYPD, the child was miraculously rescued by another employee of the same school who spotted her alone in the Subaru Forester car and frantically broke the rear passenger side window to pull her out at 750 Jennings Street, Morrisania neighborhood, around 2:45 p.m. Thursday.
Dodes’ LinkedIn account indicates previous work was as a coordinator for the Queens Office of School Library Service. Prior to that, he held the same role in Brooklyn.
The girl was taken to BronxCare Health System with injuries but in stable condition. Dodes had recently been hired as a librarian at that school, authorities said.
He was arrested yesterday and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, police said. The city Department of Education (DOE) did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the New York Post.
All charges are mere allegations, and those indicted are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Despite warnings from authorities, cases of children and pets left locked in cars in New York are a constant occurrence, in many cases with tragic endings, at any time of the year.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that the internal temperature of a car, regardless of whether the windows are closed or open, can rise as much as 40 degrees F (4.5C) in an hour, even if outside the thermometer reads about 70F (21C). Most of the temperature rise occurs within the first 15-30 minutes, and no amount of shade is sufficient to protect children from these dangers, notes FDNY.
Two weeks ago, a 14-month-old girl lost her life after being left unattended inside her grandmother’s sweltering SUV for eight long hours on Long Island (NY).
In May, a one-year-old girl was found dead inside her family’s car in New York’s Rockland County after being left unattended for several hours.
In August 2022 a two-year-old girl was found dead inside a car in the driveway of a home in Franklin Township, New Jersey.
In July 2019, one-year-old Hispanic twins died in The Bronx (NYC) after their father forgot them in the car on his way to work. The man, Juan Rodriguez, pleaded guilty but was placed on probation as he was considered a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder due to being an Iraq war veteran.
Dr. Erick Eiting, Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, reminded that it doesn’t take long for extreme heat to create potentially deadly conditions for anyone left inside a vehicle. “I think what often surprises us is how little time it takes for people to suffer the damage and consequences of heat stroke… Even though it may seem like a short period of time, just a few minutes can be deadly,” he said.