twitter facebook stumble upon rss

16 Kids Dead in 2 Months

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

On Sunday, another baby was accidentally left in a hot car to die. Why it happens -- and how it can be prevented.

It feels like we keep hearing the same story over and over -- a helpless child or baby was left behind in a hot car to die. In fact, by our count, 16 kids have died this way in the U.S. in the past two months alone.

- July 27 - 14-month-old Markus Anthony Lewis of Texas was left in the car for an hour after coming home from a local water park. His mother thought the father had taken him out of the car with their other two children, and his father thought the mother had.

- July 24 - 4-month-old Seiaires McHenry of Wisconsin was found dead in an SUV outside a daycare center, apparently left unattended by an employee of the center who picked him up that morning. He was left in the car for over seven hours.

- July 21 - 19-month-old Kamilla Brown of Texas was left in her daycare van for six hours before she was discovered. State licensing officials later shut down that daycare center.

- July 21 - 23-month-old Jack Winchester of California was left in his car after his mother took him and his two siblings grocery shopping. She thought the other two children were watching him while she unpacked groceries. He was left in the car for several hours.

- July 19 - 4-year-old Gregory Cesar of Florida was left in the car on his mother's wedding day while she got her hair and nails done. She thought a friend had taken him, but he had snuck back in the car. He was left there for more than two hours.

- July 13 - 18-month-old Alyssa Stouffer of Michigan was left strapped in her car seat in the driveway of her home in near 90-degree temperatures. The father accidentally left the baby in the truck after running an errand. The baby wasn't discovered until mother Laura Stouffer, 26, returned home from work late in the afternoon and couldn't find her child.

- July 13 - 2-year-old Angel Castillo of Texas was accidentally left in a hot car by his uncle who was taking him and other young relatives to swim at his apartment complex's pool. The uncle told the children to get out through the passenger side and to hold hands as they walked to the apartment, but Angel remained in the car, unnoticed, for over an hour. 

- July 8 - 2-year-old Chase Harrison of Virginia, who had been adopted from Russia just two months prior, was left in a car in front of his father's workplace after the dad forgot to drop him off at daycare before work. He was trapped in the car for nine hours.

- July 8 - 3-month-old Faith Nichols of Tennessee was left in a hot car in a parking lot while her mother drank and hung out at two bars. The newborn was left in the car for six hours.

- July 3 - 2-year-old Andrew Culpepper of Virginia was picked up from a relative's house by his father, but his dad forgot to bring him inside the house when they got home. It is unknown how many hours he was locked inside the car.

- June 27 - 2-year-old Amariya Danikels and her sister Kassandra, 19 months, of North Carolina died after trapping themselves in a neighbor's car for at least a half hour. They had been playing outside with their 4-year-old brother when they climbed into the unlocked car and were unable to get out.

- June 17 - 6-month-old Daniel Scott Hadley of Utah died after his mom went to a friend's house and accidentally left him in the car for two hours.

- June 14 - 3-year-old Rakala McLaughlin of South Carolina and her four siblings were visiting their aunt and uncle when she snuck off to play in a car. By the time she was discovered an unspecified amount of time later, she was dead.

- June 10 - 6-month-old Nicholas McCorkle of Pennsylvania died when his grandfather forgot to drop him off to daycare on his way to work. He accidentally left him in the car for six hours.

- June 8 - 4-year-old Jason Rimer of Nevada, who had special needs, died when his family forgot him in a car after a family outing. He wasn't discovered by his parents or seven siblings until the next morning. He was trapped in the sweltering vehicle for 17 hours.

According to Janette Fennell, founder and president of Kids and Cars, a national nonprofit group that advocates for child safety, roughly 36 infants and children die annually in the US from being trapped in hot cars. 22 children have died already this year.

How can a parent forget their child? "Everyone thinks these parents are bad or strung out on drugs, but parents who've lost their kids in these types of accidents include pediatricians, doctors, school principals, lawyers, and NASA engineers," she says. "For the most part, these are highly educated, extremely loving and doting parents."

She says these accidents have little do with how good a parent is, and everything to do with how a memory functions -- or doesn't function. "In the early '90s, these cases were rare. But then in the mid-'90s, front passenger airbags were installed in cars and there was a huge campaign to get kids to move to the back seat. An unintended consequence of this was kids dying of hyperthermia in cars -- because children were out of sight, out of mind."

In many of the cases, forgotten children are under the age of 1 in rear-facing car seats. Their parents are not sleeping much, which comes into play. "And in an overwhelming majority of cases, there has been a change in routine," Fennell explains.

She says the biggest mistake parents can make is thinking this cannot happen to them. "That's what these parents probably thought, too," she says. Fennell shares three ways to help prevent these deadly accidents:

1. Starting today, put a teddy bear or stuffed animal in your child's car seat. When your child is in his or her car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a visual reminder your child is in the back seat.

2. Keep your lunch bag, employee badge, or purse in the back seat. That way, you'll always reach in your back seat or open your back door when  you arrive to your destination.

3. Have an ironclad policy with your daycare provider that if your child does not show up, that person will call a provided list of contacts to confirm his or her whereabouts. "In so many cases, if the daycare provider would have called, tragedy could have been averted," says Fennell.

Kids and Cars is working hard to pass legislation that would require lawmakers to install weight-recognition sensors in cars that would alert parents who've left their kids in the back seat. "We won't give up until it's passed, because it would save countless lives," Ferrell concludes.

What do you think of parents who've left kids in cars: was it a tragic accident or the result of just plain neglect?

next: Five Recipes, 100% Stress Free
79 comments so far | Post a comment now
Motherof Three August 15, 2008, 8:22 AM

I don’t know how or why in any parents case but then I never let one of my children raise the other or relied on relatives to do it so I wasn’t oblivious to any of them being missing for moments let alone hours . I would assume day care remembers to lock the van yet can’t check the seats ?
I only see accident where an elderly relative has been given responsibility they are not up to . I don’t think educated parents who are loving and doting in public are any less guilty than a crackhead if they forget they have a child for so many hours and sadly I cannot help but believe after so much public notice some of this happens because this is something people call an accident . I am sorry for all the children and for the suffering of any accident but if your not observant or awake enough to check the seats why are you driving?

Amy August 17, 2008, 10:40 PM

I have 3 kids. I sympathize with these families for their loss. I believe this is just a consequence for women trying to be all things to all people. Women should be focused on their children when they are young. That is why I am a stay at home mom. I don’t want my mind cluttered with other things that would lead me to forget my own child in a hot car. It is worth the sacrifice to make your children your job and give them your time and attention.

flo August 18, 2008, 11:21 AM

Every time I have the kids in the car I always do a double check.This happens way to much.I can not understand why people don’t relize it is hot in a car even for a few seconds.Don’t they remember being in a car waiting for someone to come out of a store and they too got hot.People need to keep an eye out for kids every where.One day this young girl left her kids in the car while she went in the store to get something I took it apoun my self to sit there til she came out.I was so shocked I yelled at her and said she would be the first one to cry because her kids got hurt or someone took them, I really don’t care if I upset her. maybe on the next trip some where she will remember what I said and won’t do it again. people need to do a 2nd check and make damn sure you don’t have your kids in the car.get with it.

CK1 August 18, 2008, 12:37 PM

Too many people under severe stress to do their jobs is what causes this. They are so worried about getting to work on time that they forget their number 1 priority, their child. So, what can we do about this? I say make sure you have a set schedule and that schedule includes your child coming first. “First I have to drop off my child at daycare.” Or, “First I need to get my child out of the car at the grocery store.” Put a post it note on the dash of your car that says “First” to remind your of your child. Another way to remember that you have a child in the car is a DVD player. My grandson watches a Baby Einstein movie every time he gets in my car. With the movie going it reminds me that he is in my car.

Sharon August 20, 2008, 9:10 AM

I obviously am heartbroken for the children, and can’t imagine doing anything like that (though I have other stories of miscommunication, etc) So I am just going to share a few stories and people can ignore them! :-)
I have insomnia and have since I was in HS, some times it takes different forms and sometimes I literally do not sleep for days. I have had 2 instances in the last year or so where I was so tired it totally effected my brain (slurring words, unable to think of simple words, and basically incoherant) this is from a VERY experienced insomniac not dealing with a baby (my kids are 10, 14, 16 and just turned 18).
Once I had a 2nd grader, a morning K, a 3 y.o. and a new born~ I was exhausted and took a nap when I laid the other 2 down, I needed some GOOD sleep and laid in my bed upstairs with my son, nursed him to sleep and was awakened by a neighbor up the street who thank God was around and knew me (I’m one of those rare people who always tries to know all my neighbors). She was calling because my K had been dropped off the bus and was trying to get in the house and crying (front of the house locked & old house w/ no doorbell). I instantaneously fell apart and felt horrible and couldn’t believe that I could have done that! I also couldn’t believe that the 3 of us actually slept that long!

Me August 23, 2008, 12:57 PM

What’s with the baby being left in the trunk I don’t understand how the baby got there?

Tiffany August 25, 2008, 5:04 PM

I think there is an important distinction between the parents who are at home or at a park or event and don’t realize the child isn’t with them, and the parent who forgot to drop the baby off at day care and is now at work. I see people on here posting horrible comments about people and how they could NEVER forget the child or not wonder where they are. And as a SAHM, I agree with that. I can not imagine not realizing my child wasn’t around. But these situations where one parent is usually the one to drop the baby off but on this particular day the other parent was supposed to drop them off. I can totally see how that could happen. For me, my child is always with me so its just second nature to glance in the backseat. But for my husband? I’m sure it wouldn’t be. And once inside and working, it wouldn’t occur to them to think about the child b/c the child is supposed to be at daycare so they are not thinking about them during the workday. Its just a tragedy, I’m glad to see the article giving helpful tips on how to make sure this doesn’t happen!

Sandy August 26, 2008, 11:08 AM

It seems to me that the fathers are very involved in the day to day rearing of the children…When I was growing up my father went to work, mom stayed home, we were HER responsibility…with my own kids, I worked, but the kids were still MY responsibility. I NEVER assumed my husband was taking care of the kids, I always asked him if he would watch them when I got my hair done, went to the store….etc..

Maybe fathers being sooo involved isnt such a good idea…I have wonderful memories of time spent with my father, but I always knew he wasnt the one “taking care” of me.

forthechildssake November 5, 2008, 9:45 PM

i’m sorry but i am sick to my stomach reading this. For anyone who has the nerves to come up with any kind of excuse for forgetting your child for hours on end should be ashamed of themselves. There is no justification of any sort to have forgotten a child for such a long time only to find the child dead!! Get serious and dont make excuses for what youve done. These are childrens whose futures lies in your hands and you let them slip away.

This angers me more than anything because to think for a moment that any parent who allows this to happen has the nerves to try an educate another parent on this is unnerving. My sympathy only lies on the children who sadly did not live to see there own future. The parents or the persons left in charge is responsible and there is no way around it. stop making excuses and take responsibility for your actions. This is so sickening to me. Would u go to a department store and forget your child there? I mean how do u forget that you put your child in the damn car? especially for over an hour? this is insane! I have one question, when you were carrying that child for nine months did you forget they were in your stomach??? i think not! I AM ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED! Thank god that there are some people who see where i am coming from.

Sam July 15, 2009, 12:45 PM

I have the answer and have submitted it to the car companies, the Opra Show and the NTSB and no one seems interested, so if you or anyone you know wants to save people and animals I’d like to know who they are so we can get this going..Its not rocket science, all the parts are on the shelf, but seems the solution isn’t as important as listing people and animals as dieing.. that makes headlines..

posicionamiento web February 9, 2011, 5:18 PM

This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

limewire pro February 10, 2011, 3:18 PM

Hey there, You’ve done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

frostwire February 11, 2011, 3:41 PM

Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a great website.

backlink lists March 29, 2011, 2:21 PM

There are a lot of strange comments on here.

Pharmb504 April 6, 2011, 11:39 AM

Hello! edeeegb interesting edeeegb site!

anticristo April 8, 2011, 11:45 AM

I think this is one of the most important info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The website style is wonderful, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

information about act sat conversion April 9, 2011, 12:54 AM

You have brought up a very great points , thanks for the post.

enduckven April 27, 2011, 10:42 PM

be happy and love. kiss

BMW Car Covers June 15, 2011, 11:52 PM

I have spent a bit of time going through your posts, more than I should have but I must say, its worth it!

Back to top >>