Since 1998, 450 children have died in the U.S. of hyperthermia because they were left in hot vehicles. Although summer is about a month away; we’re already seeing high temperatures in the Basin. That’s why the Midland Fire Department is urging parents to be extra careful.
This year 3 children have already died in the U.S. because they were left in hot vehicles. One of those incidents actually occurred in Dallas, where a 7-month-old little girl died.
From 1998 to 2009, 58 children died in Texas from being left in hot vehicles. That’s the highest number of deaths in the U.S., according to a study done by San Francisco State University.
"Reports I've heard is that the temperature inside a vehicle can be 70 degrees greater then the outside ambient temperature," said Midland Asst. Fire Marshal David Hickman.
That can all happen in a short period of time. Take a look at this General Motors animation: http://ggweather.com/heat/. The animation shows parents how in just 10 minutes the temperature inside the car jumps too almost a 100 degrees.
“We encourage parents to take more time and don't be in such a hurry where you have to rush in and leave a child unattended, take the child with you," said Hickman.
The study also shows that 51% of children die because they were forgotten and 30% died when they were playing inside an unattended vehicle. Scarier still, 18% were left intentionally to die.
The fire department also told Big 2 leaving the vehicle running still doesn’t make it okay to leave the kids inside. In just the few minutes you’re running an errand something dangerous can happen.
"The child gets into the vehicle and actually sometimes gets the car in gear,” he said.
Children under 7 should never be left in the vehicle by themselves; someone’s that’s 14 or older needs to be with them. If they aren’t a parent could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.