Twenty-three child vehicular heatstroke deaths reported so far this year

Latoya Percy puts a "Look before you lock" sticker in her window after a hot car awareness news conference at the Tennessee Highway 153 Wal Mart on Aug. 2, 2016, in Chattanooga. The campaign sought to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving children and pets inside of hot cars.

All children - no matter how well they're cared for - are at risk of dying in a hot vehicle, officials said after the death of a 3-year-old boy in Sweetwater, Tenn., last week.

At least 23 children have died from vehicular heatstroke this year, with the latest known death occurring after the boy wandered out of sight and into an unlocked car, becoming trapped.

Last year, 43 children in the United States died after being stuck in hot vehicles, including an 11-month-old girl who died in July in Chattanooga. Tennessee ranks No. 8 in the nation in child hot car deaths, with 31 fatalities since 1990, according to KidsAndCars.org.

"This is a touchy subject for parents," said Mollie Triplett, pediatric trauma program director for Children's at Erlanger. "They take it personally with this education and have the belief that this would never happen to them, or they would never put their child in this situation, so I think it's important to understand why it happens and that it can happen to anyone."

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