There's science behind why parents leave kids in hot cars

Miles Harrison does the same thing every morning. At 5 a.m., before the sun rises, he sits at his desk with a jar of dirt. Dirt, from his baby's grave. 

He puts his fingers in the dirt and talks to his son. Chase Dmitri Harrison died July 8, 2008.

That morning, 11 years ago, Harrison walked into work.

"At about five o'clock, one of my colleagues comes up to me and pokes his head in my office and says, 'Hey do you have a doll in your car?'"

He had forgotten his 1 1/2-year-old in his truck.

Harrison and his wife, Carol, adopted Chase from Russia in March of that year. July 8, Harrison told USA TODAY, was the second or third day he was scheduled to go to day care. It was the first day Harrison was meant to drop him off.

He ran to the car and saw an outline through tinted windows. He ripped Chase out of the car seat. He ran around the parking lot with his son's body in his arms. "Oh God, oh God, oh God," he screamed. "Take me, not him."

Growing numbers of deaths

Harrison would join a sad fraternity of parents whose children have died as temperatures skyrocket inside locked cars during summer months. 

More than 900 children have died in hot cars in the U.S. since 1990. Yearly, 38 kids die on average. That's one every nine days, according to, which tracks hot car deaths.

Within the past week, four children have died in hot cars: twins in the Bronx, whose father says he forgot them in the car; a Florida toddler left in a day care van; and a baby girl found in a hot vehicle at a car wash in Texas.


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