Safe Kids Columbus warns against leaving children in hot cars - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Safe Kids Columbus warns against leaving children in hot cars

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A car can quickly turn into a sauna in just a short time on a summer day.

So far, two Georgia toddlers have died in the last two months from being trapped inside hot cars.

According to Columbus Health Department, there were no cases of child vehicular heat stroke deaths in Georgia in 2013 or in 2012. However, there were three cases of hot car deaths among toddlers in 2011, three in 2010, none for 2009, two in 2008 and two in 2007.

Since 2007, a total of 12 Georgia toddlers have passed away as a result of being left in hot cars.

"[This year], there have been 16 deaths in the United States of children being left unintended in hot cars," Itzel Berdecia with Safe Kids Columbus explained. "These deaths started with a heat stroke."

Safe Kids Columbus explained that a total of 43 children died in 2013 across the country after being left in hot vehicles.

Berdecia said parents need to practice a few prevention tips in order to avoid tragedies.

"Even if the windows are partially open, never leave kids in a parked, unattended vehicle," she said. "Keep a visual reminder with you when you get in your car with your child. This is important to do, especially for young and new parents. Keep a teddy bear by the child or your purse by your child, so you don't forget about your kid when you get out of your car."

Berdecia explained that the temperature in a car can rise by 20 degrees Fahrenheit in only 10 minutes, and cracking a window doesn't keep the car cool. A child's body temperature can increase up to five times faster than an adult's. Children die when their body temperatures rise over 104.

 "Protect your kids from getting heat stroke by never leaving them alone in unattended vehicles," Berdecia reiterates. "It helps to put reminders by putting something in the back of your car or next to your child to make sure you don't forget about your kids."

Berdecia said it's important for everyone to call 911 if they see children locked in a parked car for more than five minutes.

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