Painful reminder

(WBBH) Twenty-three children in America have died this year after being left in a hot car. Wednesday marked a national campaign kicked off to prevent more tragedies.
Twenty-three children in America have died this year after being left in a hot car. Wednesday marked a national campaign kicked off to prevent more tragedies. In Estero, Florida firefighters demonstrated the dangers of forgetting children in a vehicle for even a few minutes. Among those in attendance was Cape Coral father Reggie McKinnon. His 18-month-old daughter, Payton Lynn, died when he forgot her in March 2010.

"Certain things can take you right back and feels just like it happened that day," McKinnon said. "It's a hard reminder."

As firefighters rushed to save a young life in the mock rescue Wednesday morning, McKinnon flashed back to the day he left Payton behind. He returned to his SUV after a long day at work in downtown Fort Myers. The father of three, at the time, realized he had forgotten his most precious cargo.

"It is a tragedy no family should have to experience. It is not something that goes away," McKinnon said.

Three years ago, he made a promise to honor the life of his young daughter to make sure no parent ever feels the same pain. He said that's why he joined Estero firefighters and safety experts to stress the dangers of leaving a child in a locked car.

With temperature rising, first responders broke into the locked car at the mock rescue. The thermometer soon revealed, within just minutes, the heat inside was already lethal. Firefighters suggested parents create reminders when they are getting out of their cars. Those include leaving something important like your purse or cell phone in the backseat and always look twice.


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