Amanda Hawkins, a 19-year-old mom from Kerrville, Texas, was arrested on June 9 and charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child after she allegedly left her two daughters inside of a hot car for 15 hours on purpose so that she could party with friends.
Hawkins left her daughters, 1-year-old Brynn Hawkins and 2-year-old Addyson Overgard-Eddy, in a vehicle parked outside of a friend’s home Tuesday night, June 6, and didn’t go out to check on them until Wednesday at noon. Temperatures were in the 90s on Wednesday morning.
Unfortunately, this story goes from bad to worse. After finding her daughters in a bad way on Wednesday, Hawkins allegedly bathed them before taking them to Peterson Regional Medical Center where she told doctors a story about how the girls had been at a nearby lake smelling flowers, and she suspected that maybe they had come into contact with something poisonous.
The girls died at the hospital on Thursday. On Friday, Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer of the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office released a statement with details of a joint investigation that alleges the girls were intentionally left in their mother’s vehicle.
What will happen to Amanda Hawkins remains to be seen. What is certain is that her daughters' deaths and the deaths of so many other children left in cars could have so easily been avoided.
Nothing can be done to bring back the children who have perished, but raising awareness for parents and non-parents alike can prevent this from happening to other children.
According to noheatstroke.org, which tracks heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles, 16 children have died in the U.S. as of June 26 this year after being left in cars. These deaths were ALL preventable.
"Parents and other caregivers need to be educated that a vehicle is not a babysitter or play area ... but it can easily become tragedy," they warn.
Safety measures recommended by noheatstroke.org include:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Not even for a minute.
- Call 911 if you see an unattended child in a hot vehicle.
- Make sure everyone gets out of car when unloading. Check for sleeping babies.
- Always lock your car and make sure your kids don’t have access to keys or remotes that let them in the car.
- Make sure to teach your kid that vehicles are not to be used as a play area.
- If you are driving with a child, put your purse, cellphone, wallet or something in the back seat so that you are forced to check the back of the car before getting out.
Please help educate others by sharing this information so that we can save children's lives.