Authorities remind how quickly kids can die in hot cars

Authorities remind how quickly kids can die in hot cars

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Twenty-four children have suffered heat-related deaths in the United State already this year - two of those deaths happened in California.

More than half of the incidents of children being left unattended in hot cars are accidental, but for the parents and caregivers responsible, it’s something they never get over. 

“Children, especially your really little ones, like your infants, they could suffer hyperthermia, and it could be really quick,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rodriguez on Wednesday. 

Wednesday also marked National Heatstroke Prevention Day.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Safe Kids Worldwide teamed up to help raise awareness about heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles by launching a social media campaign. Local organizations followed suit and held their own social media conversation using face book and Twitter to expand their platforms. 

August is Purple Ribbon Month, which started in 2000 after 6-month-old Kaitlyn Marie Russell was left in a hot van by a caregiver and died. A year later, “Kaitlyn’s Law” passed, making it a citable offense for anyone to leave children under the age of 6 unattended in a vehicle without someone older than 12 also being in the car. 

Rodriguez said often this tragic scenario can happen when parents or caregivers are distracted or aren’t used to having the child with them at that time. He said there are ways to help prevent this from occurring. 

“Either place an item of value in the backseat with the child, so when you exit the vehicle you know to go into the back seat to retrieve that item, but, moreover, to retrieve the precious cargo which is the baby,” advised Rodriguez.

Another tip he gave is to look before you lock. 

Red Castle Productions put out a child safety film on YouTube a few weeks ago that is a very realistic reenactment of a mother leaving her young child in the car while she goes into the store to shop. The video shows how quickly the child goes into distress.