KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — As the weather heats up outside, the possibility of heat exhaustion or stroke increases quickly.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 23 children died from heatstroke in 2021. Each of those kids was trapped inside a hot car.
On a hot spring or summer day, it only takes 10 minutes for the sun to heat a car by nearly 20 degrees. Heating a car up so quickly can cause someone's core internal temperature to rise to 107, which is deadly.
Worse, a child's temperature can rise five times faster than adults. When left inside a hot car, a child could die in a matter of minutes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of a heat stroke may include the following:
- High body temperature
- Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, or irritability
- Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushed skin
- Rapid breathing
- Racing heart rate
Even if the windows are down or the air conditioning is on, experts said not to leave kids alone in a car. They recommend parents follow three basic steps to keep children safe during hot weather: park, look and lock.
First, park the car. Then, parents should look back to where their children usually sit. After taking them out of the car, lock it up. By getting into the habit of looking back at where children sit, parents are more likely to remember to take them out of the vehicle.
Technology in cars and regular iPhone or Android apps can send alerts reminding parents to check on their kids.
Also, Tennessee passed a Good Samaritan law. If a person sees a child or animal in distress inside of a hot car, they can break out a window to gain access to that individual or pet. However, the car has to be locked, and they must call 911 first.
If you see a kid inside a car alone, call 911 and get them out as quickly as possible. It could save a life.