Sheriff’s department warns of heatstroke dangers

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SAN DIEGO – In accordance to National Heatstroke Day, San Diego Sheriff’s deputies wanted to make sure people are aware of the dangers of getting too hot, especially when it comes to kids being left inside cars by accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every 10 days, one child dies from being left alone in a hot car.

On an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes. A child dies when his or her temperature reaches 107 degrees, for an adult, it takes 110 degrees.

“Your body is like a radiator,” said Julius Faulkner with the Sheriff’s Department. “When the radiator heats up, the engine shuts down – same way with your body.”

According to national reports, there have been 19 child deaths from heatstroke, this year. In August 2013, a 4-month-old baby boy from El Cajon passed away when his parents forgot him in the car.

Under Kaitlyn’s Law, it is illegal to leave a child under the age of six alone in a car anywhere in California.

Safety tips include:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
  • Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn’t show up for care as expected;
  • Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a phone, purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat;
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach;
  • Community members who see a child alone in a vehicle should immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.