DCF warns about leaving kids in hot cars

Atlanta father charged with murder after leaving son in hot car

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Every summer heartbreaking and preventable deaths happen when children are left alone in hot cars.

An Atlanta father was charged with murder after his son was left in a hot SUV all day Wednesday. Justin Ross Harris, 33, is also charged with cruelty to children in the death of his 22-month old son, Cooper Harris.

Witnesses said they saw Harris frantically pull his son's lifeless body from the car Wednesday afternoon and try to perform CPR, but it was too late.

Department of Children and Families spokesperson, John Harrell, told Channel 4 Thursday these tragic deaths need to stop.  

"Be aware of your children, be aware of your surroundings. Never leave them in hot cars. You've got about 20 percent of these child deaths that happen because the parents just thought, 'It's fine to leave the child there, I'll be back in a few minutes.' You're talking about 600 child deaths that have happened nationwide because children were left in hot cars in the past 15 years," said Harrell.  

A DCF spokesperson said it is illegal to leave a child alone in a car for any reason. They suggest parents leave a note on the dashboard to serve as a reminder that their child is in the backseat.

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