Carilion Safe Kids shares tips to prevent hot car deaths amid summer heat


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The hot summer days are here, and while parents may find it fun to hop in the car and take the little ones out for a drive, it’s important to keep them safe from this heat.

In just 10 minutes, the interior of a car can become 20 degrees hotter than the starting temperature. For example, if the outside temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, your car can heat up well above 100 degrees.

Carilion Safe Kids says a child can get three to five times hotter than an adult, and it can take them longer to cool off.

According to AAA, a child dies of heatstroke from being left alone in a hot vehicle about once every 10 days. In addition, heatstroke is the leading cause of a non-crash vehicle fatalities for kids age 14 and younger.

While accidents happen, one way to avoid leaving a child in a car is to set a reminder.

For example, place a stuffed animal in the front seat, or place a valuable item like your cell phone, wallet, or purse in the back. By doing this can help you remember to check the back seat of your car.

If you do happen to see a child in a car by themselves, Carilion Safe Kids suggests jumping into action.

“Our call to action is if you ever see a child that’s unattended in a vehicle, call 911 first, and then do whatever you can to get that child out of the vehicle,” said Jill Drakeford with Carilion Safe Kids. “You have no idea how long they have been in there, and you have no idea what the temperature is inside the car or the internal body temperature of that child.”

Virginia passed a law giving civil immunity to anyone who forcibly enters a car to remove a child at risk of serious bodily harm or death.

“If you are acting in good faith and call the authorities first and get the child out of the car, you will never be prosecuted,” said Drakeford.

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