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Leaving a child in a hot car can happen to anyone. Here's how to prevent it.

Child left in a hot car dies every nine days

So far this year, 17 children have died after being left in a hot car
So far this year, 17 children have died after being left in a hot car

ROANOKE, Va. – Every nine days, a child left in a hot car dies from vehicular heatstroke. 

"It all fits the same pattern - that memory gets suppressed temporarily and we lose awareness of the child is in the car," said neuroscientist David Diamond. 

Diamond has been studying the science behind this common memory failure that can have tragic consequences. 

"We have powerful brain autopilot brain memory system and gets us to do things automatically and it gets us to do things automatically and in that process, we lose awareness of other things in our mind, including that there's a child in the car," said Diamond.  

Consumer Reports explains that even on a mild day, that can have tragic consequences.

"The temperature inside a closed vehicle can reach dangerously high levels in less than an hour," said Emily Thomas, Consumer Reports car seat expert. "This is unsafe for children and small babies because their body temperature rises three to five times faster than adults and they are unable to efficiently regulate their body temperature."

Because a tragedy like this can happen to anyone, Consumer Reports says it's best to create a routine with reminders for yourself every time you drive.

"We encourage parents to make a habit of every day putting a laptop bag or a lunchbox in the back seat, even if your child is not with you. Doing this will force you to visit the backseat after every trip," said Thomas. 

Or keep a sippy cup or your child's coat up front with you.

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You can watch Brittny during the week anchoring the 5:30, 7 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10 and reporting on news that matters to you.