Deaths decreasing, but hot cars remain a danger to children

Ed Crump Image
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Deaths decreasing, but hot cars remain a danger to children
Deaths decreasing, but hot cars remain a danger to children

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has changed routines especially when it comes to things such as transporting children.

So, fortunately, the tragic loss of children's lives in hot cars is down this year.

But children are still dying needlessly, often forgotten by distracted parents.

"This can happen to anybody. Don't ever think that this can't happen to you," Raleigh minister Dr. Norman Collins told ABC11.

He knows because it happened to his grandson when the boy was just 3 months old.

His son, the boy's father, was unloading musical equipment at his Mississippi church and thought a fellow church member was going to bring the boy inside.

But there was a miscommunication and little Bishop was left in the car in 90-degree heat for more than two hours.

"It was a very devastating tragedy, something that I just had not, I can't explain the raw emotions I even have to this day. It's been nine years, but it still feels like it was just yesterday," Collins said.

It happens all the time all across the nation.

Children are accidentally left in cars often by a distracted caregiver.

"Unfortunately, it happens to people. Let's not be so judgmental and condemn folks for something that naturally they wouldn't want to happen," he said, "There's no way in the world that my son or my daughter-in-law would have intentionally left my grandson in that car."

RELATED: What everybody should know to help prevent hot car deaths & keep kids safe this summer

During the summertime, the temperature inside a car can skyrocket to 125 degrees in a matter of minutes, and most of the increase occurs in the first 10 minutes.

Instead, Collins wants people to concentrate on how to prevent it, saying, "make sure that you put various items back in the backseat where the child is. that you will need when you get to your destination. I even know of a grandmother who puts her left shoe in the back so that when she gets out, naturally, she has to have the second shoe and she has to reach back there and get the shoe."

Additional tips can be found on the Kids and Cars website.

Collins and groups such as Kids and Cars have been going to Capitol Hill for years trying to persuade Congress to require carmakers to include sensors that would prevent these tragedies.

"I don't understand why it is that we can't get legislation passed to make sure that children are kept alive and well," Collins said.

And while deaths are down this year, death tolls in the past two years are among the highest ever - more than 50 each year.