The maternal grandmother of a 2-year-old girl who died Saturday after being left in a hot car said she hopes others will learn from her family's tragedy.
"Just carelessness," Diane Meekins said of what led to the death of her granddaughter April Knight. "Maybe other parents will take heed."
April and her paternal grandparents — whose names authorities have not released — had spent Saturday at Jacobson Park. They returned to their home, 530 North Upper Street, to deal with an issue their 12-year-old daughter was having, Meekins said.
When they got there, they took the 12-year-old into the house and thought a 9-year-old relative was getting April out of the car. They discovered about two hours later that she had been left in the vehicle.
On Monday, Meekins and her daughter, Djauna Knight Edwards, April's mother, spoke about the girl's death.
"You can't imagine the pain," Edwards said. "Treasure your moments with your kids."
April lived in Madison, Wis., with her mother but had been visiting her father and his family in Lexington.
Meekins lives near April's paternal grandparents. "They took great care of her," Meekins said. "It was just something that happened."
She said the two families are close, and they met at the coroner's office Monday.
"We supported each other," Meekins said.
Police say they are investigating. The coroner's office issued a press release Monday saying that the cause of death is hyperthermia and that the case is being considered accidental.
Meekins said that on Saturday afternoon, her nephew came in and said, "April is dead." As she began to cross the field between Toner Street and North Upper, she saw police cars, "and I heard the ambulance, and I took off running."
When she got to the home, police were performing CPR. April was later taken to the University of Kentucky Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
April is one of 13 children nationally who have died in hot vehicles so far this year. Since 1998, 427 children have died in the same manner, according to Jan Null, an adjunct professor of meteorology at San Francisco State University.
In 51 percent of cases analyzed, the child was forgotten by a caregiver; children playing in an unattended vehicle accounted for 30 percent.
According to Null's research, the temperature inside a car can rise 29 degrees in 20 minutes. The outside temperature in Lexington Saturday afternoon was 89 degrees.
Edwards and Meekins remembered April as an energetic girl who carried three pacifiers — one in each hand and one in her mouth.
"Loved to sing, loved to dance, loved to eat," Meekins said.
At the same time April was dying, Edwards was playing with her 8-month-old in a pool. She said the baby kept leaning back, smiling up into the sky.
Edwards thinks she was watching her sister's spirit make her way to heaven.
"I don't know if God gives you signs, or instincts," Edwards said. "That was one of mine. ... Now I know why Millie was smiling."
Edwards identified April's father as Christopher Bellamy.
Arrangements for a memorial service were incomplete Monday at Fender Funeral Home.
Reach Karla Ward at (859) 231-3314 or 1-800 950-6397, Ext. 3314.