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July 14, 2014

Heat in parked cars can be deadly for children

Ada —

As the mercury rises in the thermometer, keep in mind that the interior of a vehicle can reach a deadly temperature in just a few minutes.

Although it can be tempting to leave a child in a car while the parent or caregiver runs into a store for a quick errand, it can be a deadly mistake.

It’s amazing how quickly the temperature can rise in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. When the outside temperature is 80 degrees, the inside of a vehicle can reach deadly temperatures of 125 degrees within an hour. If it’s 93 degrees outside, the internal car temperature can jump to 125 degrees in just a matter of minutes. The temperature can rapidly increase even when the windows are rolled down.

Due to their smaller size, a young child’s core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult. When children are exposed to extreme heat it can cause permanent injury or death. Heat can quickly overwhelm their small body and affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature.

An average of 37 deaths have been recorded every year in the United States since 1998.  From 1998 to 2010 at least 12 children in Oklahoma died after being left in a hot vehicle.

With the hectic lifestyles most families live today, it can be easy to be distracted and forget a child is in the car. However, distraction can result in the death of a child. When you get home from work or from running errands, check to make sure all of the children are out of the car. Under no circumstances, no matter how tempting it is, should you leave a sleeping child in the car. Get the children out of the vehicle before unloading groceries or other items.

To help prevent heat-related deaths and injuries in the car, follow these suggestions by Safe Kids USA:

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