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SC health experts warn that cars can become dangerously hot in minutes

Jun 21, 2023Jun 21, 2023

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Health officials in Greenville, South Carolina, want to remind parents and caregivers that a car can become dangerously hot in minutes.

Six children in the U.S. have died from being left in hot cars in 2023, according to The website reports that there have been three deaths in Florida. The others were in Texas, Alabama, and Washington State, where the outside temperature at the time was only 77 degrees, according to the website. reports that, on average, 38 children die each year around the country because they were left in a hot car.

Officials with the Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy, part of Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Upstate, said the death in Washington State is an important reminder that the inside of a car can get fatally hot, even when the temperatures outside are mild.

"A child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult, and it can take as little as four to five minutes for a situation to become very dangerous with a child being left in a hot car," the manager of the Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy, Melinda Lavalee-Turner, said.

"Leaving the window cracked does not provide the correct ventilation that everyone thinks it does, so that is not recommended. Remember that temperatures inside the car can get up to 50 degrees hotter than the outside temperature, so it doesn't take long for it to become a real emergency," Lavalee-Turner said.

Lavalee-Turner said, especially this time of year when school is out and children's schedules might be different, people need to remember the word ACT.

A is for AVOID heat stroke. She said to never leave your child alone in a car, even for a minute. She said to make sure you keep your car locked when it's parked because a child could climb into a car and get trapped in the car.

C is for CREATE reminders. She suggests putting something in the back seat that you will need when you get out of the car, such as a purse, diaper bag or your phone.

T is for TAKE action. Lavalee-Turner said if you ever see a child in a car by themselves, call 911.