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Officials Work To Prevent Parents From Leaving Children In Cars

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Each year, about 35 children die in the backseat of vehicles when their parent or caregiver is distracted to the point they forget to take their child to daycare.

Mary Bubala reports with this hot weather, the problem is worse.

With record-high temperatures nationwide, 21 children this year have died after being left in hot cars by accident.  Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held a roundtable discussion to step up efforts to prevent child deaths in hot cars.  Florida has seen 56, Maryland has had seven deaths and in Texas, 71 children have died in hot cars over the years, including one little girl whose mother is on a crusade to educate other parents.

“One of the saddest things to admit to you today is that Ray Ray’s death may have been prevented in so many ways,” said her mother.  “She was accidentally left in a car on a hot day instead of being dropped off at daycare.  We are now living in a perpetual nightmare without our little Ray Ray.”

Experts have several tips for parents.  One is to put a stuffed animal in the car safety seat and when you buckle the child in, put the stuffed animal in the front seat so when you arrive at your destination, you remember your child is still back there.  The other is to put your purse or briefcase in the backseat of the car so when you get out, you have to open the door to the backseat.

Temperatures can soar inside cars on hot days, going up 30 to 50 degrees in just 30 minutes.

The mother who spoke at the roundtable Tuesday wants daycare centers to call parents when their children don’t arrive on time.

Last month in Virginia, a mother received that call 20 minutes after she arrived at work.  She had forgotten to drop her daughter at daycare.  She found the child dead.  The temperature in the car was more than 100 degrees.

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