Family who lost child to heatstroke raises awareness to help prevent similar incidents

It's been 14 years since Dawn Peabody lost her daughter Maya, and the pain doesn't get any easier.

"I knew this was not intentional, I knew this was an accident, but it was very, very, very hard thing to go to and then eventually being open to talking about," said Peabody.

Her daughter died of heatstroke when she was accidentally left in the car.

Peabody says she normally takes her daughter with her to work, but that day, her husband decided to take her along with him.

When he got out, he forgot she was in the backseat.

"He realized she was not in the family vehicle, he thought she was safe at work with me," she said.

The Scottsdale Fire Department received 31 calls for children in hot cars last year, according to Capt. Dave Folio.

In many cases, he explains, parents don't realize how quickly a car can heat up. In the case of a dog, Folio says many people make the mistake of leaving the dog along with water, thinking it will be enough.

"When we're talking about heat exhaustion kicking in at 100 degrees, at heat stroke at 104 [is] where brain damage starts to occur," Folio said. "If you're left in that vehicle for any amount of time, it is so crucial to get into that vehicle quickly, let air in, get them out of the heat."

A thermometer originally set at 85 degrees can quickly skyrocket up to 125 degrees after being stuck in a car for five minutes.

The Good Samaritan Act allows bystanders to break a window if they see a child or pet alone in a hot car, because this Arizona heat should not be underestimated.

"It's serious to us to stop that brain injury from occurring when it's 107 degrees," Folio said.