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Hot Cars Can Turn Deadly Quickly

July 17, 2012, 6:07 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Hot Cars Can Turn Deadly Quickly
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The heat can have deadly consequences. Nationwide, ten children have died from being left in hot cars. More than 500 children have died since 1998.

And it doesn't have to be that hot outside for things to turn deadly. Even during a quick trip to the grocery store, Jacquie Zuraff unbuckles her kids and takes them inside.

"Because it just takes a blink of an eye, and they can overheat," Zuraff said.

"A child can only be in a car for ten to 15 minutes and they can be in trouble," Development Director at the Safety Village Bobbi Lower said.

So exactly how warm does it get inside a vehicle? Lower put it to the test for us. When we did our experiment, it was in the mid-80s outside.

"There have been cases where children have died (in cars) from heat stroke when it's only 57 degrees out," Lower said.

In less than ten minutes inside the car, the thermometer read 100 degrees. Five minutes later it hit 109 degrees. A body temperature of 107 is deadly.

"The problem is, with children, their body temperatures rise three to five times faster than adults do.  So their body temperature will rise much quicker than an adult," Lower said.

Lower says there are several steps you can take to prevent a death, such as putting your purse or something you always take out of your vehicle when you leave right beside your child.  Lower says you should also make sure your car and trunk are locked because children can get curious and climb in.

As for Zuraff, she's not taking any chances and takes the extra time to make sure her kids are safe.

"It takes me longer in the grocery store knowing my kids are right there and healthy and happy, or I go outside and my kids are dead or missing. Which one do you prefer," Zuraff said.

No children in South Dakota have died this year because of being left in a hot car.  But it has happened in the past. And with our recent hot weather, health officials want to warn the public about the danger.

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