Officials Remind Parents to Park, Look, Lock
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - One year ago a young boy died in a hot car related death, a stark reminder that heat can kill quickly.
In 2019, 52 children died due to being left or trapped in a hot car, all but two were under the age of four.
“Infants and young toddles because most of the time if they are in the car they are in a seat belt and not able to get themselves out of it and those are the ones that tend to not be real loud and talking to mom and dad on the way to the trip of whatever they are doing,” Mark Strassburg of Dothan Pediatric Center said.
Temperatures in cars can rise to extreme rates within a matter of minutes. Those temperatures can cause injuries, or even death, to happen quicker than expected.
“It is kind of a heat trap all of the windows they tend to get very quick heating up they can get up to about 117 degrees in about 60 minutes even in a 71 degree temperature,” Strassburg said.
And these incidents can be prevented. All it takes is the person to be in the right place at the right time.
“Observe your surroundings and see if a parent is in the area. If not is best to start calling 911 and have us route just in case the child does become distressed at any point in time,” Sergeant William (Tripp) Phares of the Dothan Police Department said.
And if you happen to be that person--
“Try to communicate with the child make sure that the child is aware and able to speak and talk and is not in distress,” Phares said.
“Once they are out that is where the heat is even on a regular hot day it is much cooler outside than it is inside the car and that is the first step of any heat injury is to try and decrease the temperature,” Strassburg said.
While these situations tend to occur after a change of routine or thinking it will only be a few minutes, the decision potentially comes with a price.
“Obviously the state of Alabama has neglect charges in the death of a child obviously charges would follow from that even unintentional you can be charged with a death of child even unintentionally harming a child,” Phares said.
So as temperatures begin to rise keep this in the back of your head:
Put your car in park.
Look into the backseat.
And once your child is secured with you, lock your car.
July and August are the months where officials see an uptick in hot car related incidents.
Last year, there were three hot car deaths in Alabama, including one in Dothan.
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