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2 More Kids Die in Hot Cars

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In two separate incidents, two kids were forgotten in hot cars this week and left to die. Why it happens -- and how it can be prevented.

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Last month, momlogic reported that 16 kids died in hot cars in the U.S. in June and July alone. Now, two more kids have tragically died this week in Houston the same way.

On Wednesday, a 3-year-old boy died after he was left in a locked car for more than 10 hours. A family member was supposed to drop the child off at day care but forgot. She arrived at work at 7:30 a.m., and did not discover her mistake until she pulled out at 5:45 p.m. and saw the boy's lifeless body still strapped in his car seat.

And yesterday, a 3-year-old boy named Cameron Boone--who died when he was left inside a pickup truck--tried to save himself from the sweltering heat. Investigators said Boone got out of his car seat, found an extra key and tried to put it in the ignition, to no avail. Cameron's mother was supposed to drop off her son at day care around 6 a.m. before heading to work at the hospital where she was an operating room technician--but forgot. Detectives said the mother arrived at work at 6:30 a.m. and did not realize her son was in the truck until her shift was over at 3:30 p.m.--but he was already dead.

Here's a recap of the other 16 children who died in June and July 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. 24 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: Britney Attacked by Dad?
26 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous August 15, 2008, 6:58 PM

This is unbelievably sad that the kid was fighting for his life and couldn’t get out of the car. That poor mother will have to live with that for the rest of her life.

Anonymous August 15, 2008, 8:29 PM

Please explain how you forget your kid? That boggles my mind. I don’t care how tired I am or how much I have to do, I never, ever forget my kids.

praying4baby#2 August 15, 2008, 10:48 PM

It is just SO HARD for me to believe that anyone could forget their child that is THE SAME VEHICLE as them!!

Anonymous August 15, 2008, 11:05 PM

Many prayers to all the families. I’m trying hard to understand how this happens, but the hardest for me are the one where the child was left over night(Jason Rimer) and the one where the dad didn’t notice the 18 mo. old missing until the mom came home (Alyssa Stouffer ). So sad.

Anonymous August 15, 2008, 11:07 PM

I just keep thinking about how the kids are suffering in the heat. What they went through. I feel so sad. I can’t stand to sit in a hot car might as well my kids.. All the suffering that they go through before they die.. That is all that I can think about. It makes me feel so empty and sad. They cry and no body is there to save them.

Anonymous August 15, 2008, 11:14 PM

These stories made me cry. I just can’t understand how you can forget your child in the car, no matter what else I have on my mind, I think about my kids, I see them in my rear view mirror, I hear them, I just don’t get this.

Wendi August 16, 2008, 12:02 AM

I have a real problem with the people who do this. I do not care what type of work they do and how highly respected they are. Bottom line is that they are “forgetting” their own flesh and blood and causing them to suffer a horrible death. This is people just not thinking about things and only focusing on them and their needs and not the needs of their children. It bothers me so much that these people are not being thrown into jail for this. If you were to leave your child anywhere else or do anything else as harmful, CPS would be all over you. They would accuse you of neglect and child abuse. Why is this not happening?? I have no pity for these parents at all. I am deeply disturbed by the death of all these poor kids. To think of what they went through in the last minutes of their lives is devastating. I am so glad that they are with the Lord and being comforted.

I do believe if there were a punishment involved for this, then people would start to make sure that they have their kids with them.

I also hate the thought that it is made to sound like it is because we now have to put our kids in the backseat. That is just bull!! The fact is, these parents are careless and just don’t purposefully put their children first.

Janelle August 16, 2008, 10:50 AM

Wendi,

I’m so sorry that you feel this way. I was once a mom who thought this only happened to bad or neglectful parents until it happened to me one day. Thank you, Jesus a passer-by saw my daughter in the back seat and she survived. I am neither careless nor forgetful but forgot my infant daughter who had fallen asleep on the 35 minute trip to the dentist where I was taking my oldest daughter. I had planned on leaving my baby with my husband all weekend and had to change plans at the last minute. My sweet little five yr old angel is a constant reminder of what could have happened that day. To this day I think the fact that I was over-confident and judgemental of other parents who have had this kind of accident was why this happened and it has humbled me. I seriousely encourage you to become more educated in how this happens and to maybe re-think the way you feel. Remember, judge not least ye be judged…I learned the hard way. I’ll be praying for each of these families that God will help them get through this painful time in their lives.

Michelle August 16, 2008, 1:03 PM

I agree w/Janelle for the most part. I do have a problem w/forgetting a special needs child for 17 hrs. I think that is pretty neglectful. But, for the most part, these are cases where the parents don’t usually drop off their child before work or, like Wendi, something changes at the last minute when you have it in your mind for several days that something else is going to happen. I know when my husband and I are driving sometimes and we’re going the same route that he goes to work, I’ll have to remind him to turn somewhere because his mind is set that he’s going to work and not the store. Sometimes you are on auto pilot and just aren’t thinking about a change in your routine. For those who say it would never happen to me or I would never forget my child, you might want to rethink those notions. It could happen to anyone who asks their husband, parent, friend, whomever to drop your child off or take your child somewhere, and they’re not used to doing it. For many of us it’s a “habit”. For those who aren’t used to having someone else in the back seat, especially if that someone has fallen asleep or something, I can see how it can happen. I know that I have forgotten to buckle my daughter into the car seat because I had so much on my mind until she yells “Mom you forgot to buckle me”. While that’s not forgetting my child in the car, it’s something I do ALL the time and yet I still forgot. It is a horrendous thing to happen & these people have to live with that for the rest of their lives.

Sarah August 16, 2008, 4:13 PM

This is just inexcusable! I don’t care how smart you think you are or how tired you are. Bull!! I had triplets and was seriously sleep deprived but never forgot one of my five kids….

It’s just plain child abuse, simple.

Wendi August 17, 2008, 11:18 AM

Janelle,

I am educated and a Christian woman. It is not a matter of me judging, God will take care of that. I am saying that this is something that has to stop and the way to do it is to pay more attention to you children and always be mindful of where they are. That is a very basic parenting rule. I am truely mind boggled with the fact that someone could put a child in a car and then forgot that they do that. I mean really, do all these people NEVER look in their rear view mirrors?? Do they not talk to their kids?? These children are a GIFT from God and it is out JOB to protect and nature them. When you are so into yourselevs and what you have to do and not paying attention to your children, then you are doing neither of these things.

It breaks my heart and makes me very sad that there are parents out there that think that this is not a crime or child abuse. The fact that they think that because some plans change and it is out of their norm is an excuse. If this were in any area of driving or work and the outcome was a death caused by neglect, it would be a crime punishable by jail time. The fact that it is out of the “norm” for these people should make them pay that much more attention. What is really puzzeling to me is that what is not normal about having your own child with you and being responsible for that child and the well being of it. It’s not like they have just had a kid plopped into their laps hours before. Again it is simple, kids before anything else in life!!!!

mother of 4 August 17, 2008, 12:56 PM

I am a mother of 4 girls who are my life! people think I am overly cautious with my kids, but it is stories like these that back up my thoughts. I always make my sitters or people who are asked to be in charge of them for one reason or another to call me and confirm that they get from point “A” to point “B”. Believe me; I am calling them within 15 minutes from the E.T.I. (estimated time of arrival) if they have not contacted me. This is a part of my routine!

I always say that God has a reason for all things that happen to us. It is not our job to question it. However it is our job to learn the lesson that he taught. Good or Bad we must live by those lessons. This is what makes us better people and better parents.

My thoughts are this… I feel horrible for those parents who went through this tragedy. I feel even more horrible for those who are feeling the need to damn the parents who have been involved in this tragedy, because you are not above anyone… God is in control. As a christian it is our purpose to help others get through these times and offer these stories to others w/ children to help remind them that accidents do happen.
So the next time you know a parent is exhausted from overworked, or being up all night from the day before… Offer a helping hand or at least make light conversation and say ” Did you make it okay to the daycare or sitter” That way at least you have done your part by making them think of where there children are….


Anonymous  August 17, 2008, 7:34 PM

How could you forget your own kid!!!!!!!!!!!! They are sitting RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!!!!!! My kids are my main priority!!! I dont care if im a few minutes late. So what if you dont get a good parking place at work your kid are your main priority!

ronald August 18, 2008, 1:48 AM

this is all legal theres no law yet so if you want to make a living put life insurence on your child and leave them in the car and there you have it million dollars.

Victoria Richards August 21, 2008, 6:05 PM

Never say never, I always check for my kids too but it can happen to anyone, i feel awful for these poor children,fighting for there lives, but these parents will never forgive themselves, but their little children forgive them, that’s what unconditional love is all about so is forgiveness, the pain they all have to deal with is the hardest pain of all never holding their babies again, that is punishment enough!!!
This has never happened to me and i have 3 children, but i have a heart and i have forgiveness in my heart!!! That’s how i get through life,
The only person on here that is unfit in my opinion is the mother that was partying at a bar and left her baby in the car, that is neglect!!! and intentional now that is a crime!!!
My heart goes out to all the parents and children, god knows you didn’t set out for this to happen, and some people just don’t know how to forgive so i will prey for them too


shelly August 27, 2008, 8:55 AM

I know sometimes we as adults have a lot on our minds, but when you are in a car with more then one person & no one notices a child missing!!! Epecially when going home. If you re taking kids somewhere how can you not notice one is missing!!! How can7-8 people not notice that one of your family members is missing. Some of these are a tragic accident, but others need to be looked at very carefully, they are not accidents!!!

Sarah September 9, 2008, 1:47 PM

On MANY occasions I have left the house forgetting to grap an extra set of clothes, a sippy, and diaper. BUT NEVER MY OWN CHILD!

Cheryll January 14, 2009, 6:38 PM

For those of us who are tremendously saddened by the tragic deaths of these little ones, let’s put that into action and bring something positive to light. I know it’s unthinkable that this happens, but it does. Let’s try to prevent it. I’m hoping and working for legislation to require car sensor alarm systems in vehicles. NASA and many others have invented these devices but the carmakers won’t use them. They are simple, pressure sensitive devices that set off an alarm if a child is left behind. Let’s band together and work to get legislation passed to make this happen. Maybe we will be able to stop crying.

anonymous February 22, 2009, 10:23 PM

Just today, friend of mine purposefully left her 14-month-old in the car because she was sleeping. It was a cool day, and my friend was planning to get her up in a little while. She was going to be just a little ways away outside eating at a picnic. However, later, she thought that she had brought her daughter in and laid her down inside. So when she realized, finally, that her daughter wasn’t inside, she rushed to the car and was very very thankful and relieved to find her upset but alive and ok. Thank God that he protected her! and mind you, these are very loving, careful parents. They realize now that they should not have left her in the car, no matter how cool it was. I just wanted you all to be aware that today, a child was saved (by God’s grace) from a death of Hyperthermia.

MILEY November 22, 2009, 2:31 PM

THOSE ACCIDENTS WERE REALY SCARY.


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