AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – In a matter of minutes, the temperature inside a parked car can become unbearable, and potentially fatal. In 10 minutes, the interior temperature of the car raises by 20 degrees…hot enough to cause a child to have a heatstroke.
It’s known as forgotten baby syndrome… you’re in a rush, and you forget your child is still strapped in the car seat behind you. On average, forgotten baby syndrome causes 37 childhood deaths per year in the U.S.
“A child can only withstand, will actually perish, at 107 degrees core temperature. So you can’t, you can’t leave them in there,” operations chief for Columbia County Fire Rescue, Danny Kuhlmann said.
A person having a heat stroke can experience dizziness, nausea, seizures and organ failure, and if left in the car too long… death.
So even if you’re running an errand only for a few minutes, you’re parked in the shade, or you’ve cracked the windows, rescue workers say it won’t be enough.
“You should never, ever leave your child in a car,” director of business development at Gold Cross, Michael Meyers said.
“Especially here in Georgia where the humidity is so high. That 120 degree in 10 minutes actually is probably 125-135 degrees. So cracking the window doesn’t help at all,” Chief Kuhlmann said.
Those who are forgetful can try the teddy bear technique.
“People say put a teddy bear in the child’s seat when they’re not in the seat, and when the child is in the seat put the teddy bear next to you, that way you always think about someone in the back seat,” Meyers said. “But more importantly, do whatever you need to do to make sure you do not leave your child in the car.”
If you notice someone has left a child in a parked car, always call for help.
“If you see a child, the first thing you do is call 911,” Meyers said. “You can look around to see if you see someone near, see if someone has injured themselves inside the car or around the vehicle, but more importantly you want to make sure the child is safe and you want to get the child out as quickly as possible.”