Turn to Tara: A mother's fight to prevent hot car deaths and turn tragedy into change
For most people across the tri-state, the Fourth of July is all about family, fun, and fireworks.
But for one local mom, the holiday serves as a painful reminder of the darkest chapter in her life, one that she is now determined to rewrite.
News 12’s senior reporter Tara Rosenblum revisits the hot car death tragedy that made national headlines and has some timely advice for parents.
"Okay, this is my story. And I have to be true to myself for the first time. I want to say things that others rarely do to delve into the human part of us, all the messy imperfect part we keep hidden deep within us that which makes us truly beautiful. This book is meant not only for those struggling with difficulties in life, grief, and loss, but also for those who have led into the darkness for too long."
In her book, "The Gift of Ben," Lindsey Rogers Seitz says her painful journey is proof it can happen.
"Look up, and you will see the light. You are not alone. We are all around you."
It was nine years ago this month when an unthinkable tragedy left her family in tatters. "I definitely went into survival mode at first."
Their Ridgefield, Connecticut, neighbors, and the rest of the nation, struggled to comprehend how a doting father of three could make such a deadly mistake, leaving their 15-month-old son in a hot car for hours.
When asked if she has forgiven her husband, Lindsey responded, "Yes, it was not immediate, it took many, many years. And it was probably an eight-year-long journey of forgiveness. But I'm definitely there. That doesn't mean that there aren't days that are really rough, there are, but I think forgiveness is freedom and it's something I can do for myself and for him. And it's a version of unconditional love."
And now she is passing her pen to the public, releasing a revealing memoir hoping it will help other grieving families cope with loss.
"I'm actually excited to be spreading some words of hope and love through what happened to us in 2014. You know, my memoir is not about going through those events again, it's really about showing how you can come through any struggle that you need to, whether it's loss or tragedy or mental illness or anything."
Seitz is also hoping her book will raise awareness on hot car tragedies, a problem that claims the life of an American child every nine days, according to https://www.kidsandcars.org/.
The Turn to Tara team analyzed 199 fatalities nationwide dating back to 2018 and found 10 cases involving the loss of children from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, which landed on the radar of Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
The Connecticut Democrat is helping pass the "The Hot Cars Act," which will soon require all manufacturers to install an alert system for drivers to check their backseats after the engine is turned off.
Lindsey says, "It is a game changer, and it's been years of fighting and battles and cooperation and compromise to get there, and Sen. Blumenthal from Connecticut has been so integral to that, so we're all very excited that that was passed."