Andrea Albanese, 39, was supposed to drop his two-year-old son Luca off at his nursery at 8am on his way to work in the northern Italian city of Piacenza. However, the father apparently “forgot” his son in the back of the car.
As a result, the child is believed to have died of asphyxiation as temperatures in the car reached as high as 60 degrees Celsius.
It was only after the nursery alerted the toddler’s grandparents of his absence that afternoon that the alarm was raised, reported La Stampa newspaper.
But by the time Albanese had returned to his car it was too late. Paramedics were called to the scene but were unable to revive the toddler, who is believed to have died around midday that day.
The Facebook group, called ‘Mai più morti come Luca!’ (‘No more deaths like Luca’s!’) was started by Albanese while in hospital where he has been recovering from shock since the tragedy happened two weeks ago.
“I’ve been released [from hospital]. I’m in front of a proper computer now,” wrote Albanese today on the wall of the Facebook group. “I’ll go back to managing the group. I’ve already banned some users who I thought indecent. Thanks to 99 percent of you for your support.”
Already the group has over 8,000 members, many of whom have left messages of support on the group wall.
“I’ve thought of you and prayed a lot for you because I’m completely on your side,” writes Alessandro, a member of the group. “Despite the chatter, I’m aware – unfortunately – that it can happen. I also have two small children and I realize that you can get distracted.”
“Welcome home. May the support of your loved ones alleviate the pain that you carry inside and that only you can understand,” writes another member, Luisa. “Continue with the campaign that led you to start this group.”
“I’ve already made plans for next week and I’ve already met with a lawyer,” Albanese was quoted as saying by La Stampa. “We’re taking it forward step by step.”
A petition for the installation of so-called ‘anti-abandonment alarms’, directed at Italy’s Transport Minister, has been set up on the Italian petition website Change.org and currently has 1,559 signatures.
“If every car had an electric device to alert you if a seatbelt is still buckled or a weight sensor to signal a presence when you lock up then a parent who is distracted by routine actions will immediately be made aware of the child in the back of the car, who may well be asleep,” begins the petition’s description.
“Every year in the world, hundreds of children die from this absurd occurrence. They could be saved.”