Experts warn about dangers of hot cars

Experts warn about dangers of hot cars

JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - As the summer heat wave continues, local safety experts are reminding families to be extra cautious and never leave kids in hot cars.
St. John's Fire District Fire Marshall Ryan Kunitzer tested temperature levels of cars Friday, finding it only takes minutes for cars to heat up.
"The we left out about an hour, and now we've got temperatures of about 120 to 130 degrees inside that vehicle," Kunitzer said.
Experts said leaving children in such temperatures can quickly turn into a tragedy.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there've been approximately 23 child deaths this year in the U.S. from heatstroke
when children were left unattended in cars. Child safety experts said it's an alarming count.
"We're quickly approaching the hottest month of the summer, as of last week, we're nine ahead of last year's trend," Aynsley Birkner, Injury Prevention Coordinator for Safe Kids Trident Area, said. "Children's bodies heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults, so, they're particularly at risk.  At 104 degrees, their organs start shutting down and at 107 degrees, they're susceptible to death."

Birkner said the best way to prevent car-related heat stroke is to A.C.T.

A--Avoid entirely. Never leave a child in a hot car even if it's just for a minute.
C-Create reminders for yourself, leaving a cell phone or briefcase in the backseat with your child or something you need at your final destination.
T-Take action. If you see a child left in a vehicle, call 911.

"If you suspect a child is in a vehicle, the first thing to do is call 911 as quick as possible and get emergency responders going," Kunitzer said. "If you think it's an imminent life safety issue…I would go ahead and break the window."

St. John's Fire District and Safe Kids Trident Area experts urge parents and caregivers to take the following precautions to prevent heatstroke
and unintentional injuries and death from occurring:

• Never leave children unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the vehicle and air conditioning is on.
• Make a habit of looking in the vehicle –front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
• Do things that serve as a reminder a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a cell phone, stuffed animal, purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle. Write a note and place it on your dash or steering wheel as a reminder to check your vehicle before you leave.
• Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach.
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