Despite countless tragedies, kids being left in hot cars remains a problem

Hot car children

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Just one month ago on 7NEWS a Lawton native told the heartbreaking story of her son being left in a hot car while attending day care. This week, we saw another similar situation happen, but with much different circumstances and fortunately, a much different result.

We first told you Thursday about a woman who Lawton police say left three children in a car with a couple windows rolled down for about half an hour, which medical experts say is never OK.

Because of how much smaller they are, the bodies of children heat up between three and five times faster than the bodies of adults.

"They estimate that a car heats up 20 degrees in 10 minutes, so it doesn’t take long to get much hotter in a car. Then you add that on to the fact that a child, their body temperature goes up faster than an adult at 3 to 5 times, that’s why it’s so deadly with children in a car,” Dr. Edward Legako, a pediatrician at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Legako said when a child’s body temperature reaches 107 degrees, the heat becomes deadly. But serious issues occur before that.

"Once children’s temperatures reach over 104 it starts to impact their internal organs, that’s what happens when children’s body heat goes up that high. Our bodies can only heat our temperatures up so high but the external heat, say a child left in a car, that external heat can heat that child up quickly and to higher temperatures,” Dr. Legako said.

Despite how dangerous leaving kids in cars is, paramedic with Kirk’s EMS Kaleb Ivins said they still get several reports of it happening every summer.

"The first thing we do is we attempt to locate, very quickly, the guardian, parent, anybody that is associated with the vehicle. If we cannot, the very next thing we are going to do is try to make entry. If everything is locked, we’re going to break your window,” Ivins said.

Both Legako and Ivins say the next step is an important one as you need to instantly start using cold water to cool down the child and call 911.

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