Austin mother shares tale of daughter's hot-car death in attempt to save others' children

AUSTIN, TX (KTRK) -- Austin mother Kristie Cavaliero usually took her daughter to daycare everyday. This time, her husband was supposed to drop off Ray Ray before going to work. But, he forgot. He went to the office and left Ray Ray in a 90 degree car for nearly three hours.

"It's something that we would have never imagined happened to our family in a million years," Cavaliero says. "There are times when the pain is so profound still, that it literally will knock you on the ground and you struggle to breath."

Ray Ray turned one on May 15, 2011. Ten days later, she died.

Last year, 44 children died in hot cars, according to In fact, Texas leads the nation these deaths.

Still, it's hard to understand 'how' a parent can forget their child in the back seat.

"But it happens. Behaviors change, schedules get busy. A lot on your mind and it does happen. Children can't regulate heat in the same way as adults. Their bodies heat up three to five times faster than ours do," says Kristen Beckworth with Texas Children'S Hospital.

Three years after losing her daughter, Cavaliero started Ray Ray's Pledge, a project to educate parents about her tragedy and prevention. She has since given birth to twin girls who are almost two.

Cavaliero says counseling helped her work through the grief with her husband.

Now, the Cavalieros' routine with their twins is different. Cell phone alarms remind them to check the backseat and they text each other when they leave and arrive with the children.
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