Firefighters warn of hot car, heatstroke dangers as temperatures rise
TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The death of a toddler who was left in a car is serving as a heartbreaking reminder before the temperatures heat up in southern Arizona.
Glendale police said the 18-month-old girl was found by her father in the hot car at an apartment complex Monday, April 22. Temperatures were recorded in the mid 80s.
Northwest Fire District Capt. Brian Keeley said the temperature can rise inside your car in a matter of minutes, even if you are parked in the shade.
“Tinted windows, crack in the car has absolutely no affect what so ever on the interior temperature," Keeley said. “Even on an 80-degree day, you can still be looking at upwards of 120 degrees."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees inside a car in as little as 30 minutes when the outside temperature is 85 degrees.
“For a child or an animal, they can’t adapt to the heat as well, so it can be very deadly, very quick,” Keeley said.
It did turn deadly last year for dozens of families.
More children died in hot cars in the United States in 2018 than any other year on record, according to NSC. Fifty-one children died last year of pediatric vehicular heatstroke, topping the single-year high of 49 set in 2010.
“We have seen a steady increase and rise in heat-related incidents throughout the country over the years, so we’re not getting a handle on this problem yet," Keeley said. "It’s still continuing to rise, year over year.”
Keeley said the problem is 100-percent preventable. But, with triple digits ahead and a lot of distractions, the dangerous mistake could happen to anyone, often an accident.
According to NoHeatstroke.org, an examination of media reports about the 795 pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths for a 21-year period (1998 through 2018) showed the following circumstances:
- 54.0 percent - Forgotten by caregiver
- 26.3 percent - Gained access on their own
- 18.9 percent - Knowingly left by caregiver
- 0.9 percent - Unknown
“There is never an excuse or a reason to leave anyone vulnerable in a vehicle for any amount of time, especially in the summer months,” Keeley said.
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