Kids left in hot cars remains problem across United States

Kids left in hot cars remains problem across United States (Image 1)

Last year in the United States, 44 children died of heat stroke after being left inside hot cars.

It’s an avoidable tragedy that happens by accident more often than on purpose.

News 2 took a closer look at how so many kids are left behind and found that some contributing factors are lack of sleep, stress, and in most cases, a change of routine.

One father who dealt with it told News 2 that all parents have to be on alert.

“To think that it can’t happen to you is naïve,” said Aaron Gray.

He lost his five-month-old in 2012 after his wife Stephanie left their son in the car for several hours thinking she had dropped him off at daycare.

SLIDESHOW: Photos of the scene

Gray’s message is that all parents must be aware.

“If they say my wife and I are horrible people because it happened to us, but their child lives, it’s totally worth it,” he said. shows the faces of children killed by heat stroke after being left in hot cars.

There are nearly 400 from the last decade, 13 in 2014 alone.

“It happens to the highest paid people, the lowest paid people, and everyone in between,” Gray stated.

Statistics show Gray is right. The list of parents who accidentally forgot about their children range from physicians and professors to school principals.

Less than 20 percent of parents left their children in hot cars on purpose.

On Saturday, a Memphis couple admitted to leaving their 15-month-old in a car while they shopped. The child is still in the hospital.

And in recent news, a suburban father is on trial for murder in Atlanta. Justin Harris’ son died after being left for seven hours inside a car.

“It’s just a catastrophic chain of events that can occur,” Gray said.

Gray lives with his tragedy every day.

His wife Stephanie pleaded down to child neglect and did not serve jail time in their child’s case, but parents in these cases can face a wide range of charges, from neglect to manslaughter, and even murder.

The question is, are there any good ways for parents to be proactive, or to remind themselves of their kids at all times?

The answer is yes. Put something you always carry with you, like a cell phone, next to your child in the back seat, or put something that belongs to them, like a stuffed animal, next to you in the front.

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