Officials urge parents not to leave kids in cars

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Monday, April 28, 2014

(WRDW) -- Georgia is ranked 19th in the nation for the number of child heat stroke deaths and this summer Richmond County deputies are taking action.

When a child is left in a hot car, every minute counts.

"I couldn't imagine leaving him in the truck for 3 to 5 minutes. It's just outrageous," said Jennifer Prichard.

Jennifer Prichard has a 3-year-old and another on the way which can make shopping hard but she says there's no excuse.

"It's outrageous. I think all that you have to do is bring in your kid for 5 minutes into the store," said Prichard.

Across the nation from 1998 to 2014, 608 children have died after being left in a hot car with 20 of those deaths in Georgia.

"Within an hour the temperature inside your vehicle will increase anywhere between 30 to 40 degrees. That first 70 percent of increase is going to happen in the first 30 minutes of that hour," said Sgt. Shane McDaniel.

If you do see a child left in a hot car and the parents leave before police get there, officials said to take their license plate number and report it.

"Five seconds, thirty seconds, in the end we're still going to educate the parent. We're still going to let them know that's against the law and you can't do that," said Sergeant Shane McDaniel.

If you do leave a child in a hot car you could be charged with deprivation of a minor. For each child in the car you'll get another charge, and if you're convicted you could face up to five years jail time.

Sgt. McDaniel remembers finding a newborn left in a car. He said it's something he will never forget.

"I stayed there and I detained momma when she did come out 23 minutes later. I still remember it like it was yesterday," said Sgt. McDaniel.

As a dad and a deputy, he urges people not to take any chances

"Don't take that risk. Don't take that chance. You're risking your child's life," said Sgt. McDaniel.

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