It’s hard to understand how someone could forget their child, leaving them in a hot car for hours at a time.
“Some parents forget that there’s a child in the backseat, some parents intentionally leave their children in the car with the window cracked thinking that they’ll be safe,” said Kait Gillis, the Press Secretary with the Department of Public Welfare.
Sadly, it’s a mistake that happens far too often; one that can have a tragic outcome.
“So far this year, there have been 13 deaths as a result of heat strokes of children in cars,” Gillis said. “Last year I believe there were 44 across the country.”
Gillis says not only is it deadly, but it’s also illegal.
Within just 10 minutes, a vehicle can heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Officials with the Department of Public Welfare say it’s extremely dangerous considering a child can suffer from heat stroke in temperatures as low as 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
“A child’s body temperature heats up much faster than an adult’s; three to five times faster,” Gillis said. “So while you may not think it’s that hot, a child’s body temperature reacts a lot differently.”
Officials are offering some tips to help prevent the unthinkable from happening.
“You could leave your purse or your wallet or your cell phone in the backseat so that you remember to open the backseat and check that the child is in the vehicle,” Gillis said. “You could put a stuff animal in the front seat to remind yourself that the child is in the vehicle with you,” she added.
Officials say if you see a child left unattended in a vehicle to call 911 immediately and wait there until help arrives.