Summer brings on thoughts of swimming pools and barbecues, but it is also the deadliest time of year for children trapped in hot cars.
“This story freaks me out because I can’t imagine how people can leave their child in the car,” Anamaria Almaaloulo said.
Accidents do happen. Since the beginning of 2014 nine children have died from heat stroke after being left in a hot car.
“Children are very susceptible to heat stroke because their body temperature rises three to five times faster than adults,” Carlos Flores an registered nurse at Childrens Hospital Central California said.
The hospital held a demonstration showing just how quickly the temperature inside a car rises. A thermometer was placed inside a car and within 20 minutes the temperature rose from 90 degrees to over 130 degrees.
With warm temperatures in the Central Valley during most of the year, Flores says children here are at a greater risk than other parts of the country.
“It can happen in mild temperatures, even in 70 degrees,” Flores said. “It’s remembering that the inside temperature often will be about 40 degrees hotter than the outside.”
Children are left in cars alone for many reasons. Sometimes they are playing in vehicles and become trapped. Thats why it’s important to keep car keys out of reach of children.
Flores says often parents think it’s ok to run an errand and leave the children in the car for a few minutes. He says people often underestimate how long it takes to do things. A five minute trip to the store is realistically more like 20 minutes.
Statistics show children are not always intentionally left behind. About 50 percent of the time a child dies from heat stroke in a car is because their caregiver forgot them after a change in routine.
Flores says parents can avoid forgetting their kids by leaving reminders like cell phones in the back seat. It is also recommended to get in the habit of opening your back door when you arrive at your destination. This way a child is never left behind.
“I don’t do it. I don’t even take the chance. I’ll just bring down all my four kids,” Dora Vega said.