Hot cars potential deathtraps for children

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

It's a tragedy parents can often prevent...but many just don't realize how serious the dangers are.

Leaving your kid in the car even for just a few minutes can be life threatening.

Whether your windows are cracked or rolled all the way down, the end result is still the same.

They're our most prized possessions, our pride and joy. Yet parents risk it all the time. The first thing we do when we get back in our cars is roll down the windows or crank up the A/C...so if we wouldn't do it to ourselves, why do parents do it to their own children?

It's the "quick trip" to the store where the danger begins.

"Parents don't realize how quickly a child can get ill when left in a hot vehicle," says Dr. Amy Puchalsky of MCG Pediatrics.

Yet it happens too often.

Intentionally or not, the ending is usually the same.

"They get to the point where they can have seizures, go into a coma, or even die," says Dr. Puchalsky.

Every year nationwide, about 30 kids will die from being left in a hot car. It's happened once already this year right here in the CSRA.

In a matter of minutes your car's temperature can reach more than 20 degrees higher than the temperature outside.

"The temperature can elevate very quickly, and children are especially sensitive to the temperature elevations," Dr. Puchalsky says.

"You think, why would you do it, if you know something's going to go wrong? I'm sure they've heard the stories too, so why would they do it?" says mom Cecilia Rios.

She knows no trip is a quick one...and it does take extra time to bring your kids with you.

"Four minutes, getting seatbelt off, getting them down, getting them together to stay still, you know, lock the doors or whatever, takes me a while, yeah."

It's an extra step, another thing to do...but she says it's better to be safe than sorry.

"They either come with me or I go back home, that's just how it is," says Cecilia.

"If you can't go inside the store with your child, then you don't need to go in," says mother Taneika Young.

To show you just how hot it gets in those cars, we put a thermometer on the front dash of our News 12 Jeep. Though it was below 90 degrees out, in less than an hour, the temperature shot up to 140 degrees inside the car. We also put a chocolate-coated ice cream bar on the dash, and in just fifteen minutes it was literally falling off the plate.

Your children don't have that frozen hard shell to protect them, so you can imagine what that heat might do to them.


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