Hot car deaths: Phoenix first responders warn of dangers
PHOENIX - According to the National Safety Council, 52 children died across the nation last year from being left in hot cars, and four of those were in Arizona.
Remembering the day she lost a loved one to the heat is Dawn Peabody, a mother to her late 2-year-old Maya.
"Wes ran to the car and there he found our daughter. The Arizona heat had taken our daughter's life," she said. "A vehicle that normally would've reminded me that if I left my lights on, if I forgot to put my seatbelt on, if I needed gas or my tires need rotating... did nothing but act as [an] oven."
Phoenix first responders also warn residents about how deadly leaving a child or pet inside a hot car can be.
"If you don't think it could happen to you, well trust me, it can," Phoenix Fire Capt. Rob McDade said.
When getting out of your vehicle, always check your backseat and trunk. Avoid any distractions, put down your cell phone, and if you see a child or pet alone in a hot vehicle, call police.
"If you see someone in a car, please do something," Phoenix Police Sgt. Ann Justus said.
But most important of all, Peabody says, is starting a new muscle memory.
"Every parent, every time open that back door and check the backseat," she said. "Make sure there's no precious cargo. In Maya's memory, I ask you all to look before you lock."
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