Every year, children die in hot cars: 29 so far this year.
And every year, parents react the same way: with horror and a firm belief it could never happen to them.
A new survey finds that 78 percent of parents think they could never forget a child in the car, and 85 percent of parents take no precautions to prevent it from happening.
That attitude could kill their children, Ari Finkelstein of Kars4Kids told TODAY Parents.
“The overwhelming majority of parents think it cannot happen to them,” Finkelstein of Kars4Kids told TODAY. “This actually happens to good parents and can happen to everyone.”
Kars4Kids, a non-profit car donation organization, surveyed 2,500 people about the risk of children dying in cars and what they think of parents whose children died in cars. When they hear about a child dying in a hot car, 61 percent of parents said their reaction is, "No responsible parent would leave their child in a hot car." Only 22 percent said they think, "I better take more precautions so this doesn't happen to me."
Dr. David Diamond, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, has studied hot-car deaths extensively and says there is a scientific explanation for how an otherwise caring, responsible parent could forget their child in a car. It has to do with the way the human brain functions on "auto pilot" for routine tasks, filling in gaps in memory.
“What I try to get across to people is it’s not about the importance of the item. It’s about a dynamic brain system,” Diamond told NBC News in 2017. “And it goes to tragic memory failures. ... Any person is capable of forgetting a child in a car."