Firefighters find all tragedies heartbreaking and of those, the most heartbreaking are tragedies that are preventable. That is the case every year when loved ones are left in a hot vehicle. Whether it’s an adult, child or pet, the results can be catastrophic.
Even on cool, mild days, temperatures inside a car can reach dangerous levels. On a 72 degree day, temperatures inside a car can reach 116 degrees within an hour. On an 80 degree day, temps can rise to 99 degrees inside in just 10 minutes and 109 degrees in 20 minutes. Studies also show that leaving a window gap does little to lower the temperature inside the vehicle.
Let’s begin with children. According to the National Safety Council, 52 children died in hot cars in 2018 and almost 800 have died since 1998. The next figure is just as scary…almost 54% died because the adult simply forgot the child was in the car. The primary cause of death for children is Heat stroke. The body’s temperature surpasses 104 degrees Fahrenheit and may cause symptoms such as dizziness, disorientation, confusion seizures, loss of consciousness and death. Children are simply not able to regulate body temperature as well as an adult due to a still developing brain.