Local News

Hot Cars and Children Can Be a Deadly Mix

Posted August 12, 1999

— A Caldwell County couple is in trouble with the law. Jennifer Price and Mark Williams each face two counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

Deputies say Monday night, they left their 3-month-old son in a car for 13 hours. Each thought the other had taken the baby inside and put him to bed. When the baby arrived at the emergency room, his temperature was 105. Doctors treated the child immediately, and he is going to be OK.

This makes the third time in a month that a child has been left alone in a car in our state. The other two children died. In fact, this summer alone, 19 children nationwide have died this way.

We are well in to one of the hottest summers on record in state history, and parents need to be aware of just how hot a car can get. WRAL's John McDonnell put a thermometer, which was set at about 98-degrees, and let it sit in a car in the hot sun for several hours.

Fayetteville Police say two to three times a month, they ticket someone for leaving a child in a car. Police say you must really pay close attention.

"Always double check. Make sure you didn't leave one in there if you've got a couple of them," says parent Jillian Brenahan. "Because sometimes they get to playing and one gets in there and you don't know, and you're walking off to the store and he's in the car or she's in the car."

"In these types of situations normally what we do is actually charge the parents or the caretaker," says Lt. Tim Hayworth with the Fayetteville Police Department. "Whoever left the child in the car, we'll charge them with misdemeanor child abuse."

You also have to keep an eye on unlocked cars in your neighborhood. Kids love to play hide and seek in them, and if a child gets stuck, the result could be deadly.

"I never leave my children unattended, and that's what parents need to know," says parent Peggy Sepeda. "Just because your children are out there, they'll be OK. No, you've got to be out there no matter what."

Remember the thermometer. It went up 18 degrees in just 10 minutes. It went 116 degrees, a temperature that could easily kill a child.

If you get caught leaving your kids in the car, you can get up to six months in jail.


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