While not leaving your child alone in a hot vehicle while you go shopping may seem like common sense to most people, it’s unfortunately a mistake that some parents make. Children die from being locked in hot cars every year, and there is typically a spike in these tragic deaths when the heat index rises, as it has recently.
It doesn’t take long, especially for a young child, to overheat in a locked vehicle during dangerously high temperatures. Yet still, parents don’t seem to be getting the message, according to USA Today.
In Knoxville, Tennessee, a young child was found dead inside a hot car on Friday afternoon. While the name, age, and gender of the deceased child were not revealed by law enforcement, police believe the child’s parents were shopping at a Food City store nearby. It’s not known for how long the child suffered in the hot vehicle before passing away. It was 90 degrees in Knoxville that day, with the heat index reaching 96 degrees.
Police are again pleading with parents to stop leaving their children in hot vehicles, even for a short amount of time. Some parents mistakenly believe that leaving a child in the car while they run into the store is okay, as long as the windows are rolled down and they are gone only briefly. However, when the windows are down and it’s already hot outside, it actually causes the car to heat up even faster. In many cases, the child is trapped in a car seat and not able to free themselves, escape the vehicle, or call for help.
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Scott Erland, a spokesperson for the Knoxville Police Department, explained why you shouldn’t leave a child or a pet in a hot car. He even urged parents to make a habit of checking the back seat before locking the car, in case they left a child there by mistake. Parents with multiple children may be distracted and not realize that they accidentally left one behind.
“It’s important to note how fast a car can heat up when it’s closed and the windows are up it heats up incredibly fast. And really, animal or child are really going to struggle in those environments and they can’t be left very long. So, it’s always a reminder to look before you leave your vehicle. Check your backseats. Set reminders for yourself to check the backseat and make sure the child isn’t back there.”