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Look Again campaign to educate parents about dangers of leaving children in hot cars

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Now that most of our schools are out for summer, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal are calling for parents and their caregivers to be more aware of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles.

The campaign is called Look Again, and it includes some parents whose children have died after being in hot vehicles.  And it's not just the obvious of leaving the car for a quick trip inside somewhere; it's a tragedy that can happen to any child.

It's a sad statistic that seven Georgia children have died in hot cars in the last four years. It's something the Tinker family from Statesboro says it's difficult to imagine.  Lisa Tinker says she tells her five year old and will tell her baby the same thing.  

"You don't go anywhere mommy can't see you," she said.  

 Tinker said with her 13-month-old child, she can see herself getting distracted. However, she doesn't let her five-year-old child in the front yard where the car is parked by herself either.

But it's a simple mistake that one mother made as she explains in the public service video.  She let her daughter, Sydney, walk to her friend's house, but she first stopped to grab a craft project out of the family van. That pit stop was fatal.

Jenny Stanley's son found Sydney.

"When he opened the car door, she was in the fetal position behind the passenger seat," said Stanley. "I remember walking in the garage door, and just begging them to save her."

If you're in a hurry and lock your keys in your car with your child inside, don't worry.  The Effingham County Sheriff's Office, who is supporting the campaign, says accidents happen. It's not criminal, so don't be afraid to call them for help. 

"We're not just urging people, 'Hey don't leave your kids in your car!'  I think that's kind of obvious," said ESCO deputy David Ehsanipoor. "We're also asking citizens out there to keep an extra eye out there. The police can't be everywhere. If you see something, if you see a kid sitting in a car by itself, call law enforcement and let us know. It's just extra eyes out there really help us out."

And it's the look again that may have saved Charles Green's daughter, Jazmin.  His daughter was on the daycare bus, and was overlooked and died in there from the heat.

"It's something that hurts a lot and I'll never ever get rid of that memory out of my mind," said Green.

He begs caregivers to spend that extra two minutes even five minutes looking properly through the bus instead of an unreliable head count to save a lifetime of sorrow.

"You gotta bring these people's kids home," begged Green.

And it's something that resonates with Tinker, who will be entrusting her little one in someone else's care this summer.

"I started a new job, so she's going to several day camps, so that'll be interesting," she said.

So while it may seem a little odd to peak in other people's cars, if you have a feeling something may be wrong, you may just be able to save a life.

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