Father warns parents after leaving baby daughter in hot car - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Father warns parents after leaving baby daughter in hot car

Updated:
Ritchie Gray with his daughter Ritchie Gray with his daughter
Since 1998, more than 720 children have died after being left in hot vehicles - an average of 38 each year. Since 1998, more than 720 children have died after being left in hot vehicles - an average of 38 each year.
NEW YORK -

Already this summer, more than a dozen kids have died after being left inside hot cars.

Even in 80-degree weather, the inside of a car can heat up to 120 degrees or more in just minutes.

A father is dealing with the guilt and pain of losing his young daughter after leaving her asleep in the backseat. He wants other parents to be aware of the danger.

The 911 tapes are horrifying: "She's been in the car for hours and I absolutely forgot about it."

Already this spring, children have been left in hot cars in South Carolina, Texas, Sarasota and Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia, where a father has been charged with murder after leaving his 22-month-old son in the backseat for seven hours.

Just today, a Columbus, Indiana father was arrested for leaving his two-year-old in the car.

"In temperatures like we have this week, 90 degrees plus, it takes really only minutes to get the temperatures in the car up to a dangerous level," said Brian Shimberg, medic.

Thirteen children have died in hot cars this summer. Since 1998, more than 720 children have died after being left in hot vehicles - an average of 38 each year.

While it may be puzzling to some that a parent can forget they have a child in the backseat, it happens nonetheless. It happened to Ritchie Gray, who is now dealing with the pain of a horrible mistake.

"It's an unimaginable loss," he said.

Gray forgot his young daughter was asleep in the back of his car last month and warns other parents: "It's so easy for the child to go to sleep and for you not to realize they're still in there, because your brain is on auto-pilot."

There are some things you can do to make sure your family doesn't have to deal with this kind of tragedy. Put a diaper bag or some other reminder in the passenger seat up front and leave your purse or briefcase in the back seat with your kids - or a cell phone - something you'll have to have when you get out of the vehicle - that will force you to check the backseat before you park for an extended period of time.

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