- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2015

At least five children have perished in hot cars in June, including two on Father’s Day, according to an advocacy group that tracks the tragic issue.

This makes seven deaths of children this year by vehicular heatstroke, said Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, ​which seeks​ to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around vehicles.

​The two Father’s Day deaths were of a 3-year-old California girl who was forgotten in a vehicle after a family outing, ​and a South Carolina 4-year-old boy who climbed into an unlocked car in an apartment parking lot.

​In other cases this year in Idaho, Louisiana, Florida and Arizona, toddlers and infants were left in cars by parents or child-care workers, or climbed into a vehicle without being noticed.

“Today is the day for every parent in America to understand that this can happen to anybody and take simple steps to protect their children​,” said Ms. Fennell​, who says at least 700 children have died in hot vehicles in the last 20 years.

“Far too many wonderful parents and caregivers believe that this would never happen to them or their family​,​ which is the most dangerous mistake we can make as parents. Nobody is immune,” she ​said.​

​KidsAndCars.org urges parents, grandparents, child-care workers and others who are around small children to never leave children alone around cars.

​It advises adults to put an essential item — such as a purse or phone or briefcase — in the back seat, so they will see the child as they grab their item.

Also, keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is in the car seat, the stuffed animal is in the front seat, as a reminder that there is a “baby on board.”

Other advice is to keep cars locked; keep car keys and remotes out of the hands of children; have strict drop-off, pick-up policy with the day care, so mistakes aren’t made about where the child is; and getting into the habit of looking in the back seat before locking the car to make sure no child has been left behind.

Update: Associated Press reported that around 5:30 p.m. Monday, Baltimore police were called when a 2-year-old child was found unresponsive in a car in northeast Baltimore.

The little girl, who was locked in the car, was rushed in very serious condition to  to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where she later died.

Police say the girl was left in the hot car for at least 24 hours. Authorities were questioning the father as part of the investigation, but no charges were immediately filed, Associated Press said.

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