National non-profit safety organization devastated by death of St. Marys child in hot car

ST MARYS , Ohio — Kids and Car Safety, a national non-profit group that tracks and works to prevent hot car deaths said a little girl from St. Marys was the first child in Ohio to die in a hot car this year.

The Auglaize County Coroner’s Office said 13-month-old Ceicila Harting died from heat stroke after she was left in a hot car in June.

The preliminary autopsy report from the coroner showed investigators said she died after being left in her car seat inside the hot car.

>> NEW DETAILS: St. Marys 1-year-old’s death being investigated as possible homicide, report shows

The 911 callers said they had just gotten back from a long car ride and through the girl was sleeping and that the windows were down. They thought she was OK.

Amber Rollins with Kids and Car Safety said, “We’re obviously devastated. We’ve been working on this issue for 25 years and every single time there’s a tragedy, our hearts just break all over again.”

According to Rollins, hot car deaths tend to happen when mom or dad or grandma or grandpa, whoever has the child, has even the slightest change to their normal schedule or daily routine.

It can be as simple as changing who takes the child to daycare or school that day.

“With these tragedies, people don’t believe it’s going to happen to them,” Rollins said.

She said there are apps for your phone that can set off child reminder alerts. But Rollins suggests only relying on them as an extra layer of protection.

“You forget your phone at home or it’s on silent, or you don’t have the push notifications set up correctly. So many things can go wrong so we don’t want parents to rely solely on them,” she said.

Kids and Car Safety is now pushing a bill that’s working its way through Congress that would make a child and pet detection a standard safety feature in every vehicle.

Its technology can detect kids and pets in the backseat and give an alert, including the location of the car. If someone walks away from the car without getting kids and pets our first.

Rollins said, “If this bill passes, you would not be able to buy a vehicle without that feature in it.”

One other thing Rollins and other hot car safety experts say you can do to try and prevent this tragedy from happening to you is put something you wouldn’t leave the car without, aside from your kids, in the backseat. It could be something like a wallet, phone or backpack.

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