SALT LAKE CITY,
According to kidsandcars.org, 38 children die of heat stroke in cars every year. That’s one death every nine days, on average.
It’s a statistic that Elizabeth Brown experienced in 2007.
“Every single day it hurts,” said Brown. “Every single day I think about my beautiful baby.”
Amberlee was only 99 days old when Brown’s husband forgot her in the car on a hot summer day in
“He was exhausted and about to go to work,” said Brown.
Brown said her husband had just worked 16 hours, then had to go and help his mother.
“I said ‘well ,will you take the baby? I know she'll fall asleep in the car,” said Brown. “When he came back, he got out of the car and got ready for work. I said, ‘where did you put the baby?’ and he said, ‘what?’”
“He hadn't remembered he had her with him,” said Brown. “He ran out to the car, it was 108 outside. He was barefoot trying to break the window while I was grabbing the keys and unlocking it.”
Amberlee died 13 hours later.
“I want every parent to know that this can happen to them,” said Brown. “If you could forget anything, if you've ever forgotten anything, I want parents to know you could forget your child in a car.”
Since then, Brown is using Amberlee’s story to help others.
“Check every car you pass, you might save a life,” said Brown.
“We respond to dozens of these calls every year,” said Desmond Johnson, a paramedic with Unified Fire Authority. “Occasionally we'll have to break a window.”
Johnson said a child can start suffering from dehydration within minutes, even with the windows cracked. It also does not matter the color of the car, or if it has reflective shields on the windshield, temperatures still reach dangerous levels and fast.
Tips for helping remember your child in the back seat:
- Hold a stuffed animal on your lap
- Put your cell phone with your baby
- Take off your left shoe and leave it with the baby
- Ask the babysitter/nanny to call if you are late to drop off
If you are interested in helping prevent child deaths in cars, KidsandCars.org has a petition to ask congress to raise money for research.
Visit here to sign the petition.
Another resource for anyone who has lost a child: MissFoundation.org
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