Local News

Protect your children, lock the car to prevent heat death

Posted August 10, 2020 4:45 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2020 5:30 p.m. EDT

It’s hot outside. It’s even hotter inside a closed car.

Last year, 53 children died in hot cars.

This year, 11 have died.

Five were between ages 3 and 4 and got into the cars on their own, unnoticed.

The first death happened on a 78-degree day in April.

With at least 36 deaths since 1990, North Carolina is among the states with the highest number of child heatstroke fatalities in the country.

Even on days with mild temperatures, the heat inside a vehicle can reach dangerous levels within an hour.

Experts say COVID-19 may make the risk even higher. Worried parents might be tempted to leave their child in the car while they shop, to lessen the child’s risk of exposure.

Experts warn: don’t do it.

"Children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults. That’s why it’s never safe for them to be left unattended inside of a closed vehicle," said Emily Thomas with Consumer Reports. "It doesn’t matter if you’re parked in the shade, or if you’ve left the window cracked, or even if you think it’s not that hot out. It effects them differently, and it’s never safe.”

And with so many parents working from home while also managing distance learning, they need to be extra cautious about keeping vehicles locked and keys out of children’s reach.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents to always check cars and trucks, and nearby pools and ponds anytime a child can’t be found.

It’s a horrific tragedy that no one ever thinks will happen to them, until it does.

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