Rising Temps Bring Concerns for Children Left in Hot Cars - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rising Temps Bring Concerns for Children Left in Hot Cars

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By Shelby Gillis

UNDATED- Officials are warning parents and caregivers about the deadly consequences of leaving unattended children in hot cars. Besides car crashes, heatstroke is the leading cause of death for children 14 and younger.

AAA Mid-Atlantic and the National Highway Traffic Administration have joined together to urge adults to “Look before you lock." According to statistics, on average every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke because of being left alone in a car, says Jim Lardear, director of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Just last year, the NHTSA reported the death of 30 children who suffered from a heatstroke as a result of being left in a vehicle. Between the years of 1998 and 2014, a total of 636 children died due to heatstroke and of those, over half were “forgotten” by their caregiver.

The body temperature of a child can rise up to five times faster than an adult. The onset of heatstroke occurs when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees, and is lethal at 107 degrees. On an 80-degree day a car can reach deadly temperatures in just 10 minutes.

During a heatstroke, the body is unable to cool down due to failure of the sweating mechanism, resulting in death or permanent disability if no emergency treatment is provided.

“We want to get the word out to parents and caregivers to look in the back of your car before you lock the door,” Lardear said.

The warning signs of a heatstroke are red, hot, and moist or dry skin, either a rapid or slow pulse, nausea, confusion, and not sweating. Officials advise that if a child shows any of these symptoms after being in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately. Until emergency help arrives, cool the child by spraying with cool water, but never submerge in ice bath.

AAA urges all parents and caregivers to:

- Never leave a child in an unattended vehicle 

- Make it a habit to look in the backseat every time you exit the car 

- Always lock the car and keep keys out of reach 

- If you ever spot a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately

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