When Melody Costello learned a six-month-old girl died after being left inside a hot car over the weekend, her heart sank and tragic memories of her own son came racing back.
"It just broke my heart that another child lost their life to being left in a car," Costello said.
The incident happened Saturday afternoon at Ray Mellert Park on Huntington Street in Medina. According to police, rescue crews responded to the park around 2:15 p.m. after the infant was found unresponsive in the backseat of a car.
Officers said the baby was in the car for two-and-a-half hours during a youth baseball tournament. The temperature was around 90 degrees at the time. Medina County Prosecutor Forrest Thompson said the baby was left in the car by her 22-year-old father who came to watch his 12-year-old brother's game.
Parents and witnesses have been questioned. No charges have been filed. The case remains under investigation by the Medina County Prosecutor's Office.
"It's definitely a terrible, tragic incident. It is a little too early to say exactly what happened, especially when it's in the middle of the investigation," Medina Police Chief Ed Kinney said.
The case is tragically similar to what happened to Todd and Melody Costello on July 29, 2002.
On that hot summer day, Todd and Melody switched up their routine. Todd took the baby to daycare instead of Melody, who usually dropped their son off.
However, Todd drove to work, went inside and forgot his nine-month-old son, Tyler, was in the backseat.
A few hours later, a coworker saw the baby in the car and rushed inside to notify Todd. Tyler's body temperature had reached 108 degrees, and he could not be saved.
Melody said it's hard for many parents to understand, but forgetting a child in a car is more common than most realize, especially with moms and dads racing from activity to activity.
According to KidsandCars.org, an average of 37 kids die in hot cars each year.
"Your brain is on autopilot and that is sometimes what causes these incidents to happen," she said. "We're all fallible. Anything can happen to us at any time. Our brains, they fail us."
Melody now makes it her mission to educate others. She suggests parents communicate with each other when a child is dropped off, especially when routines change. Another idea is to put a stuffed animal in the carseat when the child is not with a parent, and place it in the front passenger seat when the baby is riding in the car.
"So that is a visual reminder that you have a passenger with you in the backseat," she said.
Congressman Tim Ryan wants to take prevention a step further. He proposed the Hot Cars Act, which would require car makers to equip vehicles with an alarm system to alert drivers to check the backseat after a car is turned off.
The idea has passed the House and is awaiting a final vote in the Senate.
Melody supports the act and believes talking publicly about what happened to her family 16 years ago could save another family from heartache.
"If I can reach a family or a parent who puts a reminder into place that's going to save a child's life, doing this and coming out and putting my face out there is enough for me."