Of course, the answer to that question is obviously "too many." This sort of tragedy is completely avoidable, and should never, ever happen. Not even once. But it has, and it still does.

I've been a dad for almost 30 years now, and I still remember some advice on this topic that my dad gave me when my fatherhood began.

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My Dad's Advice Began With Asking Yourself A Question

My dad had read a story about how a guy had left his infant son in the car while he made a quick run into a supermarket. While he was in there, the car was stolen with the child still strapped into the safety seat. What could have ended as a horror story actually turned out happily when the car and the child were found safe a few miles away.

My dad, in telling me about what he had read, warned me never to leave a child alone in a vehicle for any reason. He put it this way: "Would you leave a bag with a million dollars in it sit openly unattended in the car while you ran inside someplace to run a quick errand? If your answer to that is no, then what do you think your child is worth to you? You wouldn't leave the money, but you'd leave the kid?"

I've never left either of my kids in the car.

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Shot of baby boy sitting in a car safety seat. He is happy and smiling.
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NoHeatStroke.org Is A Nonprofit Organization That Seeks To Track Every Child Hot-Car Death In America

Obviously NoHeatStroke.org's overall goal is bringing the number of these horrific incidents to zero. We're not there yet, and these heartbreaking numbers prove it:

  • 890 children have died due to Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH) since 1998.
  • Total number of U.S. pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths, 2021: 7
  • Total number of U.S. pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths, 2020: 25
  • Average number of U.S. child heatstroke fatalities per year 1998-2020: 38

As for Illinois, we totaled 16 hot car deaths among victims 14 years old or younger from 1998 to 2020. Illinois ranks 18th in child hot-car deaths per capita.

Texas leads the nation in this horrible category, with 132 child hot-car deaths, with Florida next at 96, and then comes California with 54, all since 1998.

Patch.com:

The last hot-car death recorded in Illinois was during Memorial Day weekend 2014, when 5-year-old Logan Jacobs of Princeton reportedly climbed into his father's car — possibly to charge his dad's tablet device, which was found plugged in to the car charger. His father thought he was in his bedroom playing video games.

To read more on the topic, and to learn about ways to prevent hot-car deaths, click here.

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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