Child Deaths in Hot Cars on Rise in U.S.; Georgia in Top Five
GEORGIA – According to an online news report from ajc.com, the number of child deaths from being left in hot cars is on the rise in the United States. Recent data indicate Georgia is among the top five states for the highest number of hot car deaths.*
Early analysis from 2018 shows 49 children in the United States died that year from heat stroke after being left in vehicles on hot days. Based on a report from climate scientist Jan Mill, of San Jose State University, the 2018 figure ties the record set in the country for hot car deaths in 2010.
Since recording first began in 1998, almost 800 U.S. children have lost their lives in this manner. Georgia accounts for 32 of those deaths, making it part of the top five states for hot car deaths. One such incident occurred in Cobb County, Georgia, with high-profile death of 20-month-old Cooper Harris.
Cooper died in June 2014 after being left for seven hours in a hot car in the parking lot of his father’s work. Cooper’s father, Ross Harris, was tried and convicted of murder in November 2016, though both Ross Harris and Cooper’s mother, Leanna Taylor, maintained their son’s death was a tragic accident.
More recently, in June 2018, a woman in Camden County, Georgia, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and child neglect for the death of her 7-month-old son. Rhae Odum left her infant son in her car parked at the Kingsland Quality Inn on a 90-degree day. The boy died of heat stroke.
Experts say more often than not, these situations are not intentional. Parents become distracted or lost in thought and forget about their silent children in the back seat. Some experts recommend that driving parents place one of their shoes next to their children in the back. This way, parents always have to get into the back seat when they arrive at a destination.
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