It gets hot in Arizona in June. It’s hot in August, too. You wouldn’t want to leave anything in a car that’s fragile.
In fact, last year, Business Insider provided a helpful list of things not to leave in a car because they could be vulnerable to heat.
The list included medicine, plastic water bottles, cell phones, computers, chocolate, crayons, pets and....oh, yes...people.
Here is the story of Holli Platt and Stacey Holly and events that took place within two months and 41 miles of each other.
On Tuesday, Aug. 13, Holli Platt took her children to the Target in Chandler, Arizona. She was accompanied by four of her children, the youngest a 15-month-old boy in a toddler seat in the back of the car. That day, it was 112 degrees.
Platt and three children left the car and headed inside the store.
According to police documents, passersby in the parking lot saw a baby in a locked car, crying and “dripping with sweat.” Fire and rescue was summoned, those on site were told to break the window and, after 20 minutes, the child was removed from the car.
A Target manager announced Holli’s name via the store intercom, and she rushed outside, leaving her three other children inside the store.
When questioned by police, Platt said she had forgotten the infant because the other children had distracted her. The child is expected to be fine. Platt was arrested on a charge of child abuse. Her attorney told the court that Platt “obsesses” over her children’s safety.
On June 16, Stacey Holly went to her Goodyear, Arizona Target with her sister, her 6-year-old and 5-month-old daughters. The temperature outside was 100 degrees.
Surveillance cameras show Holly entering the store, checking her cell phone accompanied by her sister and her 6-year-old daughter.
As NBC news in Phoenix reported, they went to the Starbucks for coffee and then to the food section and shopped in the store for about 50 minutes.
Almost an hour later, you can see the three of them exit the store, Holly talking on her cell phone, smiling.
According to the police report, when they returned to the car, they realized that the 5-month-old baby girl had been left in the back seat. They called 911.
You may have seen the police video of Holly on the news. “I just don't know how it happened, like, how do you forget your baby?" arms flailing, cell phone tightly clenched in her hand.
Explaining to police, Holly said she isn't sure how she forgot the baby, she was distracted. On the police video, you can hear her complaining as EMTs rushed her infant child to the hospital, “They just left; they took my baby.”
When last reported, the infant was in stable condition.
In court, Holly said it was a “terrible accident.”
To quote Holly, “How do you forget your baby?”
What is so distracting that a parent would leave an infant in a car in extreme heat?
When did “the hand that rocks the cradle” become the hand that holds the cell phone?
Unfortunately, it’s not only distracted mothers. Dads, too, have left small children in cars as the temperature climbed.
According to http://NoHeatstroke.org, 34 children have died this year from being left or becoming trapped inside a car. And some organizations have reported that more than 800 children in the last 20 years have died from heatstroke after being left in cars.
Congress has taken up the issue with the Hot Cars Act of 2019, which would require auto manufacturers to include "a distinct auditory and visual alert" on new cars if a child is left in the back seat.
It would save lives. Let’s hope it becomes the law.