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Parents leaving their children in hot cars all day long has been in the news lately, but many are shocked by the statistic that 13, yes 13, children have already died this year after being left in a hot car.
According to statistics from KidsAndCars, there have been 400 children who have died from being left in a hot car over the past decade. That makes for 38 each year, or about one every nine days.
Last year there were 44 deaths due to children being left in cars. NBC News reports that though the temperature might be only 80 degrees outside during the day, it takes just one hour for the inside temperature to hit 120 degrees.
Just in the past two months there have been three deaths: 4-year-old Bella-Rose Lindstrom, 2-year-old Alejandra Hernandez-Mendoza, and this week another child died after her father left her inside of his truck.
Steven Lillie, the father of the child that died this week, told the 911 dispatch, “She’s been in the car for hours and I absolutely forgot about it.”
Prosecution has varied in each case, according to WSLS. Justin Ross Harris of Marietta, Georgia, is currently being charged with murder, but has pleaded not guilty.
The National Safety Council and Safe Kids Worldwide have urged parents to leave something they need in the backseat like a cell phone or a briefcase. They have also recommended that you leave a diaper bag in the front seat as a visual reminder that their child is still in the car.
Richie Gray, of South Carolina, says that he wants his story to serve as a reminder to parents. He’s been passing out pink elephant stickers for car windows so that parents always remember their child is in the car.
"There's a massive amount of guilt that you feel,” he said. “As the father, you're the protector, you know? You're daddy… It's an unimaginable loss."