Boy Dies After Father Forgets Him in Back Seat, Leaves Him in Hot Car All Day at Helotes Wal-Mart

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Helotes police say Dillon Martinez's father forgot he was in the back of his car when he got to his job at Wal-Mart early Friday morning. - VIA GOOGLE STREETVIEW
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  • Helotes police say Dillon Martinez's father forgot he was in the back of his car when he got to his job at Wal-Mart early Friday morning.
Early Friday morning, 6-month-old Dillon Martinez’s father put him in the back of his car and drove to his job at a Helotes Wal-Mart. The father didn’t remember to drop the boy off at daycare and, by the time he got to work around 6:15 a.m., he’d forgotten his son was even in the car.

The boy was left in the car all day until his father finished his shift around 3 o’clock Friday, when temperatures reached the low hundreds, police say. Officials told the Express-News the father was cooperative in their investigation, but had become so distraught he had to be taken to the hospital after complaining of chest pains. Helotes police haven’t yet said whether they plan to file charges against him.

The infant was the sixth child to die after being left in a hot car in Texas this year, according to researchers at San Jose State University. There have been at least 27 in the country so far in 2016.

As the AP reports, the number of kids dying from heatstroke after being left in hot cars began to rise not long after passenger-side airbags became ubiquitous in the 1990s. Once it became clear it was dangerous to seat children near airbags, more and more parents started to buckle their kids up in the back seat. Researchers studying the issue at San Jose State say that as airbag fatalities began to drop, the number of kids dying of heat stroke started to go up as more and more parents forgot and left them in the back seat during hot days. In 2010, the worst year on record, 49 kids across the country died after being trapped in hot cars. 

Researchers say parents should make a habit of checking the back seat every time they get out of the car. They also say you can keep a stuffed animal in the carseat whenever your kid isn't with you, and move the stuffed animal to the front as a reminder of whenever the child is in the car. 


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