3 children die in hot cars: ‘That is so easily preventable'

Posted at 6:28 AM, Jun 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-01 12:09:05-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Three children across the country died in hot cars between May 25 through 28, according to the advocacy group Kids and Car Safety.

Amber Rollins, the group's director, is warning parents about the potential dangers as routines change during summer break.

At least six children have died in hot cars so far in 2023 whether they were unknowingly left or they got into the car on their own.

More than 1,000 children have died in hot cars since 1990.

“You hear people say, ‘I raised six kids and it never happened to me.’ The right circumstances have to align and there are certain contributing factors that are present in almost every single one of these tragedies,” Rollins said.

A change in routine and fatigue are the most common of those factors, she said.

Fifty-five percent of hot car fatalities involve children who were unknowingly left in a car. About a fourth of children who died in hot cars got into the car on their own and became trapped. The majority, 68%, were little boys. Eighty-eight percent of children who die in hot cars are three years old or younger.

Rollins said these deaths are “so easily preventable.”

She encouraged drivers to put a reminder in the back seat with their children.

“If you go to work and you sit at a desk and you work on a laptop, place your laptop on the floorboard,” she said. “If you get to work and you didn't do that daycare drop off, you didn't open that backdoor to get your laptop, you're going to have to go back to the car to get it in which time you're going to notice your child seated in the backseat.”

Rollins said this tragedy can happen to the most cautious and caring parents.

Laura Beck of Chesterfield knows this heartache far too well. On June 28, 2022, her husband, Aaron, forgot to drop off Anderson at daycare.

Aaron died by suicide behind the woods of their Midlothian home when he realized his mistake.

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“I'm here to tell you that it does happen. It happens to amazing parents and Aaron was one of them,” Beck said. “I’ll live the rest of my life in Aaron and Anderson's honor, and I will fight until no more babies are lost in this way.”

Kids and Car Safety is pushing the government to mandate motion detection technology inside cars to warn drivers of someone left behind.

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