Parents encouraged to check the back seat in hot weather after t - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Parents encouraged to check the back seat in hot weather after toddler dies in car in Atlanta

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Tomorrow marks the official first day of summer, and in the wake of the death of a young child left in a hot car this week, there's a push to try to keep this from happening to others.

Yesterday, Justin Ross Harris, 33, who was originally from Tuscaloosa, was charged with murder and cruelty to children after leaving his toddler son in the back seat of a hot SUV all day.

RELATED: Judge denies bond after child dies in hot car

Police in Cobb County, Ga., say Harris was supposed to drop his 22-month-old son off at daycare Wednesday morning. Instead, he went to work, apparently forgetting the child was still strapped in his car seat on a day where temperatures reached into the low 90s.

With temperatures that high, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service's Battalion Chief CW Mardis says it's important for parents to never leave children alone in or around cars -- not even for a minute.

Mardis says if there's a change in a parent or caretaker's normal daily routine, he or she might forget the child is in the back seat.

"Leave your cell phone, your briefcase, or some type of personal item also in the back seat of your car so that you'll know to check the back seat of your car," he suggested.

RELATED: Former Tuscaloosa man charged with murder after 22-month-old was left in a hot vehicle

If you happen see a child left in car alone in the heat, get them out as quickly as possible and call 911.

Mardis says the temperature inside a parked car can reach 125 degrees in just a minute.

"Leaving windows cracked and things of that nature won't help," he said.

"A child's body heat rises five to three times faster that an adult's heat does, even in his body core, so it take just about just that long for a heat stroke, a matter of minutes he could have a heat stroke so you have to respond immediately," Mardis said. 

LINK: petition to drop charges against Justin Harris

   fund account setup to help pay for toddler's funeral

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