Local News

North Carolina ranks 6th in child hot car deaths, study says

Posted June 7

— It was 2011, on a hot day in Mississippi, when Bishop Collins’ parents were running late to church and unintentionally left their 3-month-old child in the car.

“Bishop was left in the car," said Norman Collins Sr., Bishop's grandfather. "It was 93-degree weather, the windows up and they were in worship services for about 2 hours and 15 minutes.”

By the time Bishop’s parents realized what happened, it was too late. It's something Collins says he’ll never get over.

“In my mind, seeing him reach, as he would often do, reach, you know, and there’s nobody there," Collins said. "Nobody to get him. Nobody for him to reach out to.”

North Carolina ranks No. 6 in the country for the number of deaths since 1991 due to children being left in hot cars, according to a national count of the incidents. The Tar Heel State's ranking is due to 32 documented deaths in the state between 1991 and 2016.

The data comes from kidsandcars.org, an organization that advocates for stronger car safety measures for children. The site notes that the numbers should be considered low because states do not track data for hot car deaths.

Heat stroke fatalities by state

Texas had the highest number of deaths with 113. Florida, California, Arizona and Georgia rounded out the top five.

Bishop Collins' death motivated Norman Collins to help prevent similar situations. He’s now one of thousands of advocates pushing for the Hot Car Act of 2017, a bi-partisan piece of legislation that would mandate car makers install technology to alert drivers if a child was left in the backseat.

Advocates on Wednesday will meet with U.S. lawmakers to announce the legislation.

Collins says it could have saved his grandson’s life.

“As soon as my son would’ve gotten out of the car or even turned the car off, there would have been this noise," Collins said.

It’s a noise that he says will prevent other families from having to go through the heartache that he has to live with every day.

3 Comments

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  • Benjamin Kite Jun 7, 10:31 p.m.
    user avatar

    And for every child roasted alive, 25 pets? The article won't mention that, because family pets doesn't deserve the legal right to be anything more than a piece of your property. There are actually people who think they can defend that belief.

  • Kathee Liberto Jun 7, 5:28 p.m.
    user avatar

    It seems to me if a person can't remember they have a child, maybe they didn't need to have one in the first place. This is a heinous act of murder. Why make the auto manufacturers responsible? The parents should be held accountable. No excuses.

  • Bill Gibson Jun 7, 3:34 p.m.
    user avatar

    Seems like someone could engineer a proximity tagging system (Android app) that you could tag your child with like you do your other valuables. If you get out of the car and walk away from them, the beeper goes off. A phone finder only costs about $7, so they could probably be given away for free from your car dealer.