Parents warned about leaving kids in hot cars

FRESNO, Calif.

"Avoid those situations where a child may be left in a car, either intentionally or unintentionally," said Carlos Flores, trauma coordinator with Children's Hospital of Central California.

Health officials with the hospital put on a demonstration to remind parents about the dangers of leaving unattended kids inside blazing, hot vehicles.

"We also know that kids' body temperatures will rise 3 to 5 times faster than it does in an adult. So they can get themselves into a very serious heat-related illness very quickly," said Flores.

The outside temperature at Noon outside the Madera hospital read 90 degrees according to one sensor. But inside a truck, the temperature was almost 40 degrees higher.

"A lot of folks don't realize how much hotter it is inside of a vehicle in relation with the ambient temperature outside," said Flores.

Since 1998, more than 500 children across the country have died from heat stroke when left inside a vehicle. Fifty percent of those deaths occurred because a parent forgot they left the child inside.

"Sometimes people forget that they even have kids in the car so you always have to look in the back seat and make sure they're there," said parent Sarah Benson. "Because I know I forget sometimes if they're quiet in the back seat."

Officials say sometimes leaving a purse or phone near a child helps remind parents to grab both before they leave the car. "In this case, a brief case can go right next to a child or a purse or cell phone. Put that right next to the child as we get to the destination - that prompts us to get to the back seat," said Flores.

Health officials say small acts like this can go a long way in preventing a deadly accident from occurring.

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