Mom sends reminder about warm temps in cars

September 28, 2011 8:36:15 PM PDT
The warmer seasonal temperatures serve as a good reminder about just how hot it can get inside a car. It's a reminder that a young Napa Valley woman lives with every day.

A trip similar to one Haley Wesley takes with her daughter, Peyton, to and from daycare on a daily basis was similar to one that led to the death of Wesley's nine-month-old daughter Maddison four years ago.

Wesley would normally take her daughter straight to daycare, but one day in 2007, she had to run an errand first. Wesley went to work after her errand, forgetting that Maddison was in the back seat, where she spent the entire day sitting inside a car in the parking lot until she died.

"The whole time I was at work, I thought she was safe at school," Wesley said. "It hurts so much to know when she was so close to me."

You may have the same question others have asked: How could this have happened?

"I absolutely thought the same thing," said Wesley. "I never would have thought that I could forget the most valuable thing in my life."

Tragically, it does happen: The child safety group Kids and Cars says each year an average of 38 children die across the country in similar incidents. So far, 27 children have died in 2011 in what's known as vehicular stroke deaths.

"What's really hard for me to see is that I keep reading about this happening to other parents year after year after year," said Wesley.

We wanted to demonstrate just how hot it can get in a car. The outside temperature on the day we chose for our test was 92 degrees in the shade.

ABC7 intern Krista Williamson placed a thermometer inside the car so we could measure the heat. Within three minutes, the temperature soared to 120 degrees.

A study conducted in San Francisco found temperatures could rise inside a car as much as 43 degrees within one hour.

Wesley has a system to ensure she never makes the same mistake again: She places a stuffed monkey on her seat belt to serve as a reminder that she has a child in the backseat. Other times, she also puts her purse in backseat.

"I don't want it to ever happen again, where I forget my child, and I now know it's possible to do that," Wesley said.

Wesley gave birth to Peyton one year from the day Maddison died. Wesley tells us she's now four months pregnant.

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