Experts warn of hot car deaths amid summer weather conditions

Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 5:36 PM CDT
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It's among a parent's worst nightmares, finding your unresponsive kid in a hot car.

The latest incident happened over the weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the father now faces second-degree murder charges.

With a hot stretch ahead of us, it's a concern right in our own backyard.

In high temps, things can turn deadly in only a matter of minutes.

The number of children dying from heatstroke inside cars has increased in recent years.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-- a majority of hot car deaths happen because someone *forgets a child in a car.

Steve Fessler, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Division Chief, said, “The fast-paced life that we live, make sure they’re aware of when they stop at the store or when they go to work, to check to see if their kids are in the back seat or not. They might have fallen asleep and are very quiet.”

Another leading cause of these deaths are children getting into unattended vehicles.

NHSTA says another tip to remember is always locking your car doors and trunk, year-round.

The temperature inside a car is able to reach 110 degrees, even if the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.

Fessler said, “Making those little, extra efforts of putting your purse in the back seat or something if you’re a mom. Or, people will do their gym bag. Something they’ll stick in the back seat just to make sure that they look for it.”

Other common victims are family pets.

Whether it’s a quick trip down the street or a long drive to the cabin, it doesn’t take long to heat up.

“If you consider how hot it gets in, underneath a topper area of a pickup with no air-conditioning or really very limited ventilation you want to make sure that you’re taking time to let the dog out to run and get water,” said Fessler.

Another important tip, never leaves a child alone in a parked car, even if the AC is on or the windows are down.

NHSTA says a child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s.

Kessler added, “It can be life and death. It doesn’t take long in a car for temperatures to rise where it can cause serious injury or even death.”

If you see a child left alone inside of a car, it's important to remember to first call 911.

If the parent is nowhere near and the child is unresponsive, Fessler said to try to get to the child by breaking a window.