GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Another day of sweltering 90-degree temperatures increases the risk of a deadly mistake -- leaving a child in a hot car.
The national organization Kids and Cars says already this year (as of Monday), five children have died of heat stroke in hot cars. Last year, 31 children died. In 2014, 44 children died.
WFMY News 2's Good Morning show spoke with Cone Health injury prevention coordinator Leigha Shepler Thursday morning, as temperatures began to climb in the Triad area.
She emphasized children's bodies heat up much quicker than adults' bodies do. And, even if the outside temperature remains constant, it can take only 10 minutes for the temperature inside the car to spike 20 degrees.
She said hot car accidents can happen to anybody, especially when there's a small change in a daily routine. So, simple steps can help protect children:
- Put a purse, phone or something else you'll need in the back seat with the child.
- Take off your left shoe and place it in the back seat with your child. When you get to your destination, open up the back door, take the child out and put the shoe back on.
- Put a stuffed animal in the front seat when your child is in the back seat. When you take your child out, put the stuffed animal in the car seat. When you put the child back in the car seat, put the stuffed animal back in the front seat.
- "Look before you lock." Make it a habit to always open the back door and do a quick check before you lock the car.
- Never intentionally leave your child in the car, even just to run a "quick errand."
- When you park your car, always lock it after checking and put the keys out of children's reach (to prevent children from getting in the car to play).
Good Samaritan Laws
- Currently, North Carolina does not have a "Good Samaritan" law, which would give people legal protection if they break windows or take other action to save children or pets in hot cars.
- The North Carolina General Assembly is trying to push forward House Bill 896, which would give people legal immunity if they act in "good faith" to save a child in a hot car.
- The Greensboro Police Department says there is an existing law--G.S. 14-363.3--for animals, but that law gives only "limited immunity" to law enforcement, EMS and other emergency personnel who act to rescue an animal in a hot car. It does not extend to private citizens, but a judge could decide to dismiss a case.
Stay connected 24/7 via WFMY News 2