Summer heat and child deaths

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

We know summer temperatures can be brutal especially during a heat wave.

And inside a car, temps can get so hot they can be deadly.

NTV News tested how quickly the temperature rises in a car, and in a matter of five minutes the temperature rose from 90 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soon-to-be parents Ashley Wilson and Travis Stithem said they would never leave their child in the car, but with a small distraction, they understand how it could happen.

"I’m sure running into the gas station quickly you wouldn’t think it would be a big problem. Then you run into a friend and start talking next thing you know you’re in there 5, 10 or 15 minutes and the kid has been sitting there the whole time. Other than that I don’t think I would leave my kid in there," said Stithem.

Many parents think the same, saying it would never happen to them.

But according to, 55 percent of vehicular heatstroke deaths occur accidentally where the child is unknowingly left.

"Anytime that you’re transporting children, you need to be really concerned that you don’t leave that baby in the car seat. Temperatures can rise really quickly this time of year when it’s parked and not turned on," said trauma outreach coordinator for CHI Good Samaritan Tracy Dethlefs.

From the same website, facts show that parents suffer from exhaustion due to lack of sleep, hormone changes, stress and changes in their normal routine which can cause your memory to fail when you least expect it.

"This year in the United States, we’ve lost approximately 20 children to hot cars already just since January 2018. It can happen in any state. A lot of times it’s good loving parents that just have a change in their routine or something that distracts them that they get busy and forget to check," said Dethlefs.

Dethlefs said there are many ways to ensure you don’t leave your child by putting a stuffed animal in the passenger seat, putting your purse or belongings in the back or even stickers on the inside or outside of your car.

"I mean it just takes a few extra seconds to check, buckle your child in and just understand it’s going to be hot in there," said Wilson.

Dethlefs also wants to remind people not to keep their pets in the car either.

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