High heat has authorities reminding of hot car dangers

Published: Aug. 29, 2018 at 3:47 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2018 at 7:54 AM EDT
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(WWBT) - This week's high temperatures call for an important reminder - look for your children when you lock your car.

In New York Tuesday, an 11-year-old girl died after she was found alone in a hot car. A similar situation involving a 2-year-old happened in Alabama. The same thing has happened in recent months in central Virginia.

Virginia State Police took to Twitter on Tuesday with a critical reminder.

"How hot will your car get over time? Please remember to check for your baby and look before you lock," the tweet said. A short video shows how quickly the temperature can reach dangerous levels.

"This is a life-threatening emergency," former nurse practitioner Audrey Hirsch said.

Earlier this month, a Virginia mother accidentally left her baby boy in the car while headed to work in Emporia. He was in the hot car for five hours and died.

That came shortly after a child died in a hot care in Goochland County.

And in May, 4-month-old twins died in Chesterfield County after being left inside their father's SUV.

The heat index in the Richmond area could exceed 100 degrees this week.

"Heat stroke is a medical emergency," Hirsch said. "It's when the body temperature soars to 106 degrees or higher, and this can happen very, very rapidly."

Hirsch said 80 percent of these cases happen after being exposed to intense heat for just 10 minutes.

So, why is this happening, especially with kids?

"Parents just forget," Hirsch said. "If you're stressed, lack of sleep, many, many reasons."

Because these cases usually happen by accident, experts say take extra steps to make sure you don't repeat the mistake.

"Put a clothespin or something like that on the gearshift, so when you turn off the car, there's your clothespin. It reminds you, 'Oh, there's something else happening in the car right now. I need to check for the baby,'" Hirsch said.

Simple reminders like that can mean the difference between life and death.

Another safety measure it to put your purse, briefcase, even a cell phone in the back seat next to the car seat. That way when you get your phone out of the car, you will have no choice but to open the back door to retrieve it, reminding your child is there too.

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