Abandoned Babies

How Does A Parent Forget Their Child In The Car For 3 Hours?

I am at a loss for words about the number of children who have been mistakenly left in their parents vehicles this summer.

Chris and Jennifer Starr

It feels like everyday I read another story about a small child who has either lost their life or has been hospitalized after being left for hours.

15-month-old Cassandra Starr died after she was left inside a van for nearly three hours when her family returned home from church services Sunday afternoon.

The family of six — including four children — had returned about 1 p.m. after attending services at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Brogue, Chanceford Township, where the victim’s father, Chris Starr(photographed, left), is the associate pastor, York County Coroner Barry Bloss said.

Cassandra’s mother, Jenny (photographed, left), had taken the oldest three children — ages 4, 5 and 7 — into the home and asked the father to help unload some bags and get the baby,

“Unfortunately, the father forgot,” Bloss said.

Jenny thought that the baby was sleeping, until 7-year-old sibling noticed the baby was not inside her crib.

The mother immediately ran to the van where the baby was found, Bloss said. The mother called 911 for help, and there were attempts to revive the baby but they were “too late,” Bill Johnson, Jenny Starr’s father said.

Everytime I read a story like this I am at a loss for words. I cannot imagine forgetting my son in the car, at the airport or anywhere for the matter.

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About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!


  • Hi! I think it’s great you’re bringing attention to these kind of situations. I can’t imagine NOT knowing my baby was still in the car. Anyway, I was just wondering where you got your picture? Did you notice that the chest clip on that child restraint is missing? I just don’t want other readers to get the wrong idea. Good for you, though, for posting this to remind readers to always double check!

  • The photo shows a European carseat, not a seat approved for use in the United States. EU seats do not have chest clips, but the seat is still a five point harness. The chest clip is not what makes the seat a five point, it’s the five points of contact the harness has with the child’s body (one at each shoulder, one at each hip, one at the crotch). Australia has six point harnesses, due to the split crotch strap on AU seats. A three point harness (commonly found on older infant seats, and overhead shield seats) will have no hip straps, only points of contact at the shoulders and crotch, and are considered less safe than a five point harness seat.

  • The original photo has been replaced with a photo of Cassandra’s parents.

    The issue of the European Child Restraint System in the picture is taking away from the seriousness of this story.

    The original photo was included in the post because it showed a baby in a car seat.

    It was never meant to cause controversy about which country that seat could be used in or if it was safe.

    What happened to this little girl is tragic and her situation shouldn’t be overshadowed by a stock photo.

    Thank you to all of my safety moms for their concerns!!

  • You’re so very right. The issue of children being left in the car is incredibly serious, and should receive more attention. Kudos to you for getting the word out, and I’m sorry if I upset you by commenting off-topic. I was just trying to clarify things. 😉

    http://www.kidsandcars.org/ is a website devoted to education on non-traffic vehicle-related child deaths, including children left in cars. It is a great site, though very tragic and sad to read the personal stories. My heart goes out to the parents, as their guilt must be unimaginable.

  • No parent ever wishes for this to happen. No parent ever thinks that it would happen to them. No parent ever wants to bury their child. Please try to have some compassion and respect for these children. Approx 36 die a year, since the invention of the airbag, becuase of which we can no longer put our children in the front seat. This happened to me when my loving husband accidentally left our daughter. It is the worst mistake ever. And it hurst that bad every day.


  • I went to college with Jenny and Chris. They are wonderful people. Ordinary people who love their children AS MUCH as you love yours. Instead of a passive aggressive accusatory dialog about fault, why not try for compassion. Was it intentional? No. Was it a mistake? Absolutely. Have you never made a mistake where your child is concerned? Stop for a second and just be grateful that it’s not you. And offer up a prayer for the parents instead of using a this blog to disparage these people who are the lowest point of their lives.

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