Hot car deaths continue as Ross Harris faces murder charges - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Hot car deaths continue as Ross Harris faces murder charges

Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Hot car deaths are getting their annual media coverage as summer temps increase across the U.S. and some parents do the unthinkable: leave their children in their vehicles.

The most noteworthy case right now is that of Justin Ross Harris, whose 22-month-old son died strapped to a child's seat in the Georgia heat. Cooper Harris suffocated when his father left him in an SUV for seven hours in June, according to investigators. Harris has been charged with murder and child cruelty, but has pleaded not guilty.

Cooper's mother's attorney, Lawrence Zimmerman, said in a prepared statement to Fox6 yesterday, she is "living ever parent's nightmare."

Alabama had at least two cases of hot car deaths last year: Anniston mom and Army Sergeant Katherine Papke left her 4-month-old son in a vehicle.

Another case, in July, in Homewood, was not prosecuted. In that case, the mom forgot her 11-month-old daughter was in the backseat.

Hot car deaths continue

Despite all the media attention to these cases, the fatal mistake continues to be made. According to Kids and Cars, a national non-profit, 44 children died from heat stroke in cars in 2013. As of July 11, 17 children have died from heat stroke this year.

- Last week, a 3-year-old boy in South Carolina died when he was locked in a parked car outside his home. The child's grandfather told authorities that the 3-year-old got in the car with the family dog after his mother accidentally fell asleep.

- In Connecticut, a 15-month-old tot died in a parking lot after his father forgot to drop him off at day care.

Strangers to the rescue

- Strangers have begun breaking into vehicles with unattended children inside. On Monday, a group of shoppers at a strip mall in Texas used a hammer to break a car window when they saw two kids inside. Cell phone video recorded the rescue. There are conflicting reports about what happened but it appears the mom accidentally locked her children as well as her car keys in the vehicle, KTRK News reports.

-Last week, a man posted a video on YouTube in an attempt to document what it feels like to be left in a hot car. The results are eye-opening, even for a grown man who only managed to stay in the car for 20 minutes.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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