Sheriff's office helping to prevent hot vehicle children deaths

For parents like Stacey Campos, it's unthinkable — simply not happening.

"Me personally?," asks Campos. "No way would I ever leave him in the car. It's ridiculous."

Ridiculous for her? Maybe, but not so ridiculous says Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

"These things can just happen," explains Sheriff Gonzalez. "I don't think that most parents can even fathom the idea of leaving the children in the car, but we've seen it."

It was reported three times in one week alone in the Houston area. A nine-year-old girl died in Baytown after her family forgot her for several hours. 115 Texas children have died this way in the last twenty years, according to one advocacy group. Seven hundred deaths were reported in the U.S. over the same period of time.

"Their physiology is a lot different than adults and they end up absorbing a lot more heat," says Dr. Sherri Onyiego with Harris County Public Health.

HCSO is offering hangers, provided by the group Got Child? Inc., to remind parents and caregivers to check the back seat. They also recommended leaving something valuable like a cell phone, key or shoe to make you look back before exiting the vehicle. Of course, nothing is more valuable than your child.

"So sad. I can't even imagine the guilt that would come after a tragedy like that."