Thirty-nine. That's the number of heatstroke deaths of children who were left in hot cars in 2016. That's 15 more than 2015's final count.
Many parents hear the news stories about these deaths and immediately think, "I could never do that." Maybe that's true, but there's a good chance that the parents of the 39 children lost in 2016 thought the exact same thing. These hot car accidents happen so often that it seems as if they'll never stop being "a thing," but one family is choosing to speak out about their daughter, Lily, whose dad forgot her in the back of his car.
On the day 5-month-old Lily died, her dad forgot to drop her off at day care and drove straight to work without realising, until he went to pick her up at the end of the day. Lily's mother, who has forgiven her husband for his thoughtless mistake, told KHOU about that life-changing day.
"Normally, I take the older two kids to school, but today, he was trying to bless me and took all three of them. . . . When he walked up to the [day care] door, they just looked at him and said, 'She hasn't been here all day.' There were 15 seconds of 'How could he do that?' Immediately instant forgiveness washed over me."
Since her daughter's death, Lily's mum has been writing letters to other parents who have gone through this same nightmare and has shared her story on camera to show that healing is possible — that this could happen to anyone. "If I can help one family, one child . . . " she said. "It's important for people to know that it happens to good people."