LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -Temperatures could hit triple digits this weekend.. a degree of heat that can be dangerous for even the healthiest people.
But how much does that danger amplify inside a car?
“Cars just heat up so quickly, in fact the first 19 degrees happens in the first ten minutes. It would not be unheard of for a car to heat up to as much as 140/150 degrees,” said Janette Fennell, the founder and president of KidsAndCars.org.
The danger is even greater when there’s a child left in the car.
“They don’t have the ability to sweat, and cool themselves like we do. Kiddos can overheat in as little as ten minutes,” said Anna Reed, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at the Lawton Community Health Center.
Depending on how hot it is outside... 10 minutes can be catastrophic.
“Organs start to shut down when you get to the degree of 104. It looks likes kids just go to sleep... you think oh they are just taking a nap. Well, if the internal temp is 104, the shut down has already started,” said Reed.
Fennell said it doesn’t have to be hot for this to happen to your kids.
“People are shocked to learn we have cases of deaths that happened at the low 60′s, even the upper 50′s,” said Fennel.
While part of the problem is someone forgetting to check the backseat... some of these deaths also occur when kids get inside the car on their own.
Fennell said to make sure you keep the car locked, and your keys put away.
“Kids are curious, in fact a lot of them are bored right now and a good game of hide and seek can cause a death to a child,” said Fennell.
And if you come across a child in a car, Reed said your next actions are simple.
“It does not matter if you don’t know the vehicle, those people,” said Reed. Wherever you are, you call 9-1-1 and you break that window. Obviously the window farthest way, but you do whatever it takes to get that kid out.”
In many cases, this is a tragic accident, and Fennell said it can be avoided by instilling one simple habit.
“Make sure you look before you lock.”
Fennell said her organization has made progress on getting a federal bill passes.
It would require a sensor in your car, to alert you if someone is in the car after it’s been turned off.
Last week, the Hot Cars Act made it through the House.