How parents can practice hot car safety when temperatures heat up

MID-SOUTH — With the Mid-South preparing for hot temperatures this week, health experts are taking the time to remind parents to never leave your child or pet locked in a hot car. It’s an issue that happens far too often. Jennifer Taylor, manager for Injury prevention and Safe Kids at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, says the consequences are severe.

“Potentially death can possibly come out of that,” said Taylor.

Taylor says the real risk your child or pet faces is heat stroke. The issue comes because the air in the car has no where to go, so the temperature rises quickly inside a car. Taylor says even cracking a window is not enough.

“That child’s temperature can possibly get as high as 104 degrees in which the body, the organs can shut down immediately. If it gets to 107 degrees, that child can die,” said Taylor.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have 907 hot car related deaths since the data started being tracked in 1998. In 2021, 23 children died from being locked in a hot car. There has already been one hot car death in Georgia in 2022.

The National Weather Services in Memphis also sent out a tweet as a reminder of how quickly a car heats up. In just 80 degree temperature, a car can heat to 99 degrees in 10 minutes. Within an hour, the car temperature can rise to 123 degrees inside.

FOX13 asked Taylor why this is still an issue in 2022. Taylor says changes in someone’s routine can cause people to forget even their most prized possession.

“Your routine changes. So sometimes people do forget, but there are so many simple things that parents can think of that will help them remember that their child is in their backseat,” said Taylor.

Taylor says there are very simple things parents can do to make sure they double and even triple check their child is not in the car. Simple things like leaving items like briefcase or backpack in the backseat.

“To say oh, my cell phone is back there, my laptop, anything of value for that actual parent to say hey, I need to get these things out,” said Taylot.

Don’t forget your pet either. They too, can suffer from a heat stroke and potentially die when locked in a hot car.