July 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM ET
Brett Cavaliero will never forget the moment he realized he had left his baby daughter in the back of a sweltering hot car for hours. Now he and his wife are working to make sure other parents never have to endure the same pain.
On May 25, 2011, when Cavaliero took his 1-year-old daughter, Sophia Rayne, nicknamed "Ray Ray," to daycare, but forgot to drop her off. He went to work instead, leaving Sophia in his truck for nearly three hours. It was a 90-degree day.
When his wife, Kristie, met him for lunch and asked why the teacher at daycare didn't mention the cute dress Sophia was wearing, it hit Brett that he had left her in the car.
First responders tried for 40 minutes to save Sophia, but she died only 10 days after her first birthday.
"We've really channeled our grief and our pain into what we hope will be a positive contribution by trying to prevent this tragedy from happening to other parents who are not aware that this is a danger that they could become susceptible to," Kristie told Willie Geist on TODAY Monday (they've previously spoken to Parents magazine).
On June 18, 22-month-old Cooper Harris died after seven hours in a hot car, according to authorities. The boy's father, Ross Harris, has been charged with felony murder and second-degree child cruelty. Brett Cavaliero, who was cleared of any wrongdoing and is now a dad to 22-month-old twin daughters, hopes to help others avoid tragedy.
How does this happen? "I ask myself that all the time,'' Brett said. "I don't have the answer to that, really." Dr. David Diamond, a psychologist and neuroscientist from the University of South Florida, believes following common patterns can cause parents to forget their child is in the car.
How do we make sure this never happens again? The Cavalieros have created Ray Ray's Pledge, which aims to prevent child deaths in hot cars with a daycare drop-off system where teachers contact parents if children are not there at the designated time.
KidsAndCars.org has the following tips: