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Take Precautions To Prevent Hot Vehicle Deaths
August 8, 2014

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Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox While most parents and caregivers would like to think they could never leave their child in a hot vehicle, it can and does happen.

"It's a hard thing to keep focused because we get so overwhelmed with all the daily stuff that we have to do," said Beau Evans, traffic safety director for the city of Huntington.

There have been 19 deaths across the country this year alone. Since 1990, more than 600 children have died after being left in a vehicle.

"You've just got to keep in mind that it's a life or death situation," Evans said.

Experts said some ways to prevent it are to leave a sticker or decal such as a thermometer on the driver's side window, and leave a personal item next to the child's car seat.

"Put something back there that you know you cannot leave the car without," Evans said.

You also could put the diaper bag or child's toy next to you up front as a reminder.

Just minutes alone in a hot car can be deadly since a child's body temperature can rise five times faster than an adult's. It only takes a 57-degree temperature jump to cause a heatstroke.

"A car can go from being 80 degrees to a 120 degrees in five minutes," Evans said.

Even if you're only running a quick errand, don't leave your child unattended in the vehicle.

"Anytime that you're doing that, it creates the possibility that something could go wrong," he said.

Don't forget, animals also are especially susceptible to the heat. Scott Iseli, interim director of the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter, said if you know you're going to the store don't take your pet with you and leave the animal locked in a vehicle.

While many parents believe they could never forget their child in a vehicle, more than half of heatstroke deaths are accidental, and experts said the most dangerous mistake is thinking it could never happen you your family.

"It's very important to take the extra precautions needed to assure your child's safety," Evans said.



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