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How to prevent hot vehicle deaths as temperatures rise this summer

Posted at 10:33 AM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 21:00:56-04

As we enter the hot summer months, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding parents about the dangers of hot cars.

According to the agency, in just 10 minutes a car can heat up by 20-degrees and become deadly. At least two hot car deaths have been reported this year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, since 1998 nearly 900 children have died of heatstroke related deaths as a result of being left or becoming trapped in a hot car. The NHTSA says that children are more vulnerable to heatstroke as their body temperatures can rise three to five times faster than an adults.

That quick rise in temperature means that a child could die from heat within minutes. Temperatures in Louisiana have been on the rise this summer, with feel like temperatures pulling into the triple digits during the afternoon hours.

Heatstroke begins when the body's core temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. At 107 degrees a child can die, according to the NHTSA.

In 2020, 24 children died of vehicle-related heatstroke. 2018 and 2019 saw the highest number of heatstroke related car deaths in 20 years. A total of 53 child deaths were reported each of those years.

The agency recommends parents place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat as another reminder to look before you lock.

The NHTSA provided other tips to help prevent hot vehicle deaths:

  1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.
  2. Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away. Train yourself to Park, Look, Lock, or always ask yourself, "Where's Baby?"
  3. Ask your childcare provider to call if your child doesn't show up for care as expected.
  4. Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock. Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger's seat to remind you that a child is in the back seat.
  5. Store car keys out of a child's reach and teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.

The NHTSA says that if you see a child alone in a locked car, get them out immediately and call 911. "A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled."

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