Throughout my times as a parenting writer, I’ve told many tragic stories about hot car deaths. These are the 100% preventable child deaths that occur when a child is either forgotten about in a car on a hot day or climbs into one and cannot get out. Hot car deaths are a controversial issue, because while many parents blame the parents of the dead child and say “it could never happen to me,” the truth is, it can happen to anyone—even the best of parents. We all get distracted, we all have moments when a child slips past us unnoticed. For most of us, those moments do not end in tragedy. But that doesn’t mean we’re immune. It means the odds haven’t beaten us. I certainly do not enjoy writing about hot car deaths, but since they keep happening, well…these are the kinds of stories I will write about until I don’t have to any more.
No parent is immune to the tragedy of child hot car deaths.
The most recent child to die in a hot car has a shocking story, purely because of her age. This week, and eleven-year-old New York girl passed away because she was trapped in a hot car. Most children are too small to open car doors, or are asleep strapped in their car seats and left there by parents who have simply forgotten their child was with them. But at eleven, it seems almost impossible that a child would not be able to get out of the car. However, several news outlets are reporting that the child had special needs.
They are also reporting that the child has an excellent mother. One neighbor, Donna Heester, told the New York Post: “She was a very attentive mother. She was on her children like a hawk – you wouldn’t find a better set of parents. I’ve known them for 20 years and she never left her children alone. And if she couldn’t make it home and the bus came she’d call me up and ask me ‘Could the kids come over here?’ Sure.”
Heester added: “Her house is armed with cameras, she knows everything that goes on for her family, inside and outside.”
According to a statement by the Suffolk County police, the mother was out running errands with her three children that day.