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'It's all worth it if it saves one person': Valley mom shares daughter's tragedy in hopes of preventing hot car deaths

Kids and Car Safety reports 26 children died in hot cars in the United States last year and steps can be taken to help prevent a deadly mistake.

PHOENIX — Angela Jones wears small reminders of her three-year-old daughter Charly. 

Gold bow earrings. A pink shirt with small black bows. A tattoo on her left arm of a pink bow with angel wings and "Charly" written below. 

"She was a beautiful, sassy, fun-loving little girl," Jones said. "She had so much personality in that little body of hers." 

It was back on September 3, 2019, when Jones said a change in routine led to Charly not going to preschool that day. 

Jones's husband took their two older daughters to school with Charly in tow. 

"It wasn't until I had my lunch break at work that I called to see how she was doing," Jones said. "And I could hear the absolute panic in his voice when I asked what Charlie was doing."

Charly was found unresponsive and died. Jones now works with KidsandCars.org to help spread awareness and create change so this doesn't happen to other families. 

"If sharing my story can help another family not lose their baby girl, their baby boy, then how difficult this is to share and to do it's all worth it if it just saves one person," Jones said. 

Preventable deaths 

Kids and Car Safety reports 26 children died in hot cars in the United States last year. 

It's something Amber Rollins, Kids and Car Safety's director, said can happen to the most loving and responsible parents. 

"We really all have these memory failures. And we don't recognize them as the same type of memory failure that could lead to a hot car tragedy, but in fact, they really are," Rollins said. "Have you ever left the house and left your curling iron on? Or driven away and left the garage door open?" 

This is why Rollins said it's important that people realize that it can happen to them and take steps to set several reminders that their child is in the backseat. 

Reminders Rollins said can be putting something you can't start your day without in the backseat like your phone or your laptop. Front seat reminders could be something like a stuffed animal or a diaper bag up front when a child is in the back. 

"This is a tragedy that you will never recover from. This is something that you don't want to happen to your family. Take it seriously. Take these simple steps. They don't require buying anything. They don't require any extra time or really attention," Rollins said. 

Temperatures can rise quickly in cars, especially during the summer in Arizona. 

"104 is heatstroke and 106 is fatal," Capt. Rob McDade with Phoenix Fire Department said. "So it does not take very long." 

See a person or pet in a hot car? Here's how to help

In 2017, a Good Samaritan law was passed in Arizona and does protect people from civil liability to break into a car if someone sees a person or a pet in distress. But some requirements have to be met to do so. 

"You notice that they're in distress; you take steps to verify that if there's any way to enter this vehicle without breaking it, once at that point, call 911," Sgt. Phil Krynsky with Phoenix Police Department said. "And take those steps to go and save a life." 

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