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Currently it isn't as hot in Michigan as it was just a few weeks ago, and perhaps thankfully so as the numbers of children dying in cars across the country topped eight in one week between August 1-7. Despite the best efforts of safety advocates and federal highway safety officials, eight children died of heat stroke after being left in steaming hot cars.

This year alone, 23 children died of hyperthermia in cars in 13 states, but eight in one week is believed to be the highest one-week total ever. Heat stroke is the leading cause of death for non-crash related accidents for children under the age of 14. It is dangerous to leave your child unattended in a hot vehicle for even one minute, say safety officials. The bodies of infants and children heat up three to five times faster than adults, making them highly susceptible to high temperatures in hot vehicles.

Reggie McKinnon, age 40, suffered his own personal tragedy two years ago when he accidentally left his 17-month-old daughter, Payton, in the car for hours. He had taken her to a doctor's appointment that morning and drove to work as he usually did after it was over. Unfortunately, he forgot about Payton in her rear-facing car seat in the back, and when he came outside from work at 3 o'clock that afternoon, he found her dead. One of the hardest parts was telling his wife about his daughter's death and coming to terms with the fact that he had made an irreparable mistake. He says that he always imagined that drug addicts or uneducated people left their children in hot vehicles, not a doting father like himself. McKinnon's story demonstrates that anyone can make a deadly mistake, but safety officials say that you can avoid this by placing a necessary item in the backseat such as a cell phone or briefcase.

29 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Tammy

    I just don't understand how a child can be forgotten in a car

    When my children were little, I was always thinking about getting to our destination safely. They were never not on my mind.

  2. Gravatar for Gloria

    No parent is perfect, but how can I forget that my child is in a hot car? When my boys were very young, just knowing that they had a fever concerned me. To read stories like this one is "AWFUL".

  3. Gravatar for Destiny

    A briefcase or cellphone is more of a necessary item than a child? Stories like this make me sick. Those poor kids.

  4. Gravatar for Katie

    What an idiot, he left his child in the car? How do you forget that? And forget about it for the rest of the day...I mean really, you just left your child's appointment, and you forgot she was with you...real pathetic!!!!! People like that shouldn't have children!!

  5. Gravatar for Ellie417

    I certainly hope that whomever is responsible for leaving these kids in the cars are charged with as many charges as a DA can think of, even murder if they can get it to fit. We, as the rest of the resposible world HAVE TO GET INVOLVED!!! If you're walking to through the parking lot, do a quick check of the cars around you and whether it's an animal or a child you see, DO SOMETHING! Call 911, try the door and get the kid out, if the child is unresponsive, not sweating when they should, I personally would smash the window to get that kid out.

    There's no easy way to make sure each parent is a good one, but until we stop our general apathy in getting involved in things that "aren't our business" and stop being too busy and pay attention...look up from your cell phones...you just might see what's really going on and have the chance to be a hero.

  6. Gravatar for Robin

    Since many of these devastated parents remembered their Ipads and cellphones, why hasn't Apple or Microsoft or the neighborhood nerd invented an app to alert you the moment you walk away from a child ( or a pet for that matter) in a locked car?We have apps that lock or unlock our house remotely, apps that clean the kitty's litter box remotely, how hard would it be? Wish I was more nerdy....I bet it would be a hot seller.....maybe better to give away though.....

  7. Gravatar for virginia real

    I had three small children-in the older days and every time I stopped anywhere that I got out of the car. they did too-might have have been a bother. bit well worth it.

  8. Gravatar for rae

    I heard a small puppy on the backseat of a car in a parking lot and called the police. Just after they arrived the woman who owned the car came out

    and said she'd only been in the store for just a few minutes. I told her I'd been there for 20 minutes and the police had been there for at least ten minutes. I was so upset I left the area and let the police take care of the situation. I hope she got a ticket to appear in court and a fine... better yet, I hope they took the puppy away from her!! Animals feel pain, too!!!

  9. Gravatar for rae

    ... by the way, the temperature outside was 105 degrees! You can just imagine what it was in the car!

  10. Gravatar for Bruce Ramsey

    If I accidentally left my child to die in a hot car, I think I'd be greatly tempted blow my brains out.

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