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Consumer Reports: Heatstroke danger to kids left in hot cars

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Posted at 8:11 AM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 11:11:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - The first child to die of heatstroke in a car in 2020 was a 4-year-old boy on April 25th, who apparently snuck outside and into the family car unnoticed. Even on days with mild temperatures, the heat inside a vehicle can reach dangerous levels within an hour, posing significant health risks to small children or pets left inside.

“Because everyone’s home more often than usual, parents need to make sure that their keys are always out of reach of little hands and that their vehicles are locked at all times," says Emily Thomas, Ph.D., Consumer Reports.

And restrictions at some stores may tempt some parents to leave their child in the car to decrease the child’s risk of exposure to Covid-19 while they shop. But, even with the window cracked or the vehicle parked in the shade, the interior temperatures within the car can reach dangerous levels in a short period of time.

“Children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults," says Thomas. "That’s why it’s never safe for them to be left unattended inside of a closed vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you’re parked in the shade, or if you’ve left the window cracked, or even if you think it’s not that hot out. It affects them differently and it’s never safe.”

CR and the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents to always check their pool and car first if a child is missing!