We all know that summertime in Kentucky is hot and humid, to say the least. But did you know that temperatures inside a vehicle can rise as much as 19 degrees higher than the outside temperature within 10 minutes and can reach 45 to 50 degrees warmer in as little as an hour?
Temperatures like that can make the inside of a car lethal for anyone as it can raise body temperatures to dangerous levels. Body temperatures higher than 104 degrees can lead to heat stroke, and temperatures above 107 can be deadly.
Unfortunately, many of the deaths related to hot cars are children. In 2012, 32 U.S. children died from heat stroke because they were left in cars.
Children are more susceptible to heat-related injuries and deaths than adults because a child’s body temperature can rise three to five times quicker than an adult. Children cannot regulate their body temperatures as efficiently as adults.
Through a partnership with the Louisville Office of the National Weather Service and with funding by a Barnhart Fund for Excellence Grant, personnel with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension have developed several resources to help parents and caregivers keep our most precious cargo — children — safe. Here are some tips from their Beat the Heat: Check the Backseat campaign:
• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Not even for minute.
• Don’t overlook babies sleeping in a car.
• Always lock your car, and ensure your children do not have access to keys or remote-entry devices.
• Teach your children not to play in vehicles.
• Avoid all distractions while driving, such as talking on a cell phone. Remember it’s against the law in Kentucky to text while driving.
If you see a child left unattended in a vehicle, immediately call 911. For more information on Beat the Heat: Check the Backseat, contact the Letcher County Office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service at 633-2362.