DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — On average nearly 38 children die every year from being locked inside a car during summer.
Last year more than 50 children died after being left by their parents or caregivers in a hot vehicle. With it being summer, kids are out of school, doing things with their parents, and with the heat expected this summer, the threat for hot car deaths is a concern.
“It’s a national problem, people are so pre-occupied with their lives they forget the most important thing and leave their kids in the car,” Joey Pilcher, owner/operator of Pilcher Ambulance Service said. “It can be 98 degrees outside, and in just a very short time the temperature can escalate 15 degrees in a vehicle.”
While many think it’s safe to leave their kid in a car with the air conditioner running, Dothan Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Chris Etheredge said it’s best to just take your child inside with you.
“You never know what can happen with the vehicle number one, you know, you don’t want to leave the vehicle unlocked and running with a child in it,” Etheredge said. “And, number two, should something happen and the vehicle shut off or the air conditioner not work properly, then you essentially left your child in a car with no air conditioning working.”
To show you how hot a car get in the summer with no air conditioning WDHN placed a thermometer inside a car, and within 30 minutes the temperature went from 85 to 120 degrees.
“When your bodies exposed to those type of temperatures, it just doesn’t compensate well, particularly the very young and the very old,” Etheredge said. “So, leaving small children or even elderly inside of a vehicle for a period of time can cause significant medical issues with that person.
Pilcher said that you need to respect the heat if you’re in a vehicle or just outside doing other activities, it’s important to be cautious.