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Nationwide, 14 children have already died in hot cars this year

Posted at 2:59 PM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 15:59:19-04

According to kidsandcars.org, 52 children trapped in hot cars died in 2018. In 2019, there's already been 14 child deaths.

In both 2018 and 2019, the children were just five years old and younger.

Terrry Dickinson with Saint Luke's Health System said even mild temperatures in the upper 50s and 60s can cause heat strokes for the youngest people.

"When you have your windows up in the car, you have a greenhouse effect," Dickinson said. "So you can imagine if you walked into a nursery greenhouse , what does it feel like in there? It can be stifling and because the child's body temperature heats up three to five times faster than an adult's, it can be lethal. A core body temperature of a child can be lethal."

Summer is a busy time with routines that are different from the school year. Those changes combined with distracted driving could lead to tragedy.

"I think it's the busyness of lives," Dickinson said "I think it's the distracted driving that's taking place. So the best advice I can really give parents is make sure they have something in the front seat to remind them if you're baby's on board in the back, look before you lock and stay off your cellphones, because then you become distracted."

It doesn't take long for cars to hear up. Within minutes, a car that was 82 degrees inside skyrocketed into the triple digits, even parked out of the sun and with tinted windows.

Here are a few reminders experts recommend to combat this problem:

  • Place your purse or shoes in the backseat.
  • Place your child's favorite stuffed animal in the front seat as a reminder to check the back.
  • "Look before you lock."
  • When parking in your driveway, or even the garage, be sure to lock the doors. That way a child won't get inside and accidentally lock themselves in.