Mom whose child was left in hot car shares story to help others - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Mom whose child was left in hot car shares story to help others

A child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's. (Source: WOIO) A child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's. (Source: WOIO)
If you see a child unattended in a hot car, call 911. (Source: WOIO) If you see a child unattended in a hot car, call 911. (Source: WOIO)
Parma Fire Department shares tips to keep families safe. (Source: WOIO) Parma Fire Department shares tips to keep families safe. (Source: WOIO)
PARMA, OH (WOIO) -

It's every parent's worst nightmare -- forgetting your child inside a car on a hot summer day.

Cleveland 19 News went to the experts to find clever ways to keep your family safe.

Fourteen years ago, Melody Costello of Medina lost her 9-month-old baby Tyler. Her husband Todd was supposed to drop off the baby at daycare before work, but he forgot, and the temperatures soared in that car to 140 degrees.

“Trying to imagine what he would be doing, what he'd look like, those are the things that you remember when you've lost your child,” Costello said.  

But the couple pulled through. They now have two daughters.

“You don't give up on someone because something bad happens,” she said.

Now Costello shares her story so no other families have to feel their pain. She works with the groups Kids and Cars.

Her No. 1 tip is to communicate.

“Just make sure you're in communication, especially in the morning, when you know that child was supposed to arrive at a certain time and place,” Costello said.

You can turn to your cell phone for help, too.

Apps like "Precious Cargo" sync to your Bluetooth when you get into the car, and then ask you if you’re driving with precious cargo. If you hit “yes” the app will send you an alert when you shut off the car, even if your phone is on silent.

“If it helps one person, that's one child that's been saved,” Costello said.

A child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's.

Safety experts say if it's 80 degrees outside and your car is parked in the shade, a baby can die in that car in just 10 minutes. Even on a moderately sunny day, a car’s temperature can rise 20 degrees or more in 10 minutes.

Doug Turner with Parma Fire Department has some more ways to make sure your child is safe.

“Put your cell phone, your purse, your briefcase in the backseat, so when you get out to get them when you go to work, you'll remember to check the car seat,” Turner said.

“Another one is to take your left shoe off and put it in the back by the car seat. It's kind of hard to get out of the car and walk into the store or walk in to work with one shoe missing,” he said.

You can also put a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a reminder that your baby is in the back seat of the car.

You can also have your child’s day care or school call you if the child is not dropped off on time.

Costello hopes her story can save lives.

“These are good parents that unfortunately suffered a tragedy that could've been prevented,” Costello said.  

Firefighters say call 911 if you see a child unattended in a hot car. 

“These are good parents that unfortunately suffered a tragedy that could've been prevented,” Costello said.  

On Wednesday, Gov. John Kasich signed a bill that would protect a person who breaks into a hot car to save a child or pet.

The law does have provisions. A person must call 911 first.  And they have to check to see if the car is unlocked.

Then if they feel the situation is an emergency, they can break into the car.

The law goes into effect on Aug. 29.

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