High temperatures require caution to prevent death in a hot car
A baby died this week after she was left in a van for almost five hours outside a Florida daycare.
The director of the daycare has been arrested. Authorities said the child, whose identity has not been released, was only a few months old.
The temperature in Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday was around 91 degrees Fahrenheit.
It's the 8th hot car death in the U.S. so far this year. The deadliest year on record (since 1998) was last year with 52 hot car deaths.
Locally, we are expecting high temperatures in the 90s into the middle of next week. It is important to practice heat safety during this time.
On Thursday, the air temperature reached 92 degrees in Chattanooga.
Surface and air temperatures inside your car can be significantly higher than the outside ambient temperature.
We tested several surfaces inside of a vehicle with the steering wheel registering at 109 degrees and dashboard at 119 degrees. Neither of these spots were located in direct sunlight
Radiation from the sun enters in the car through the windows, warming the interior surfaces. These surfaces then release heat back as longwave radiation which cannot escape through the car's windows. This effect will quickly heat up the inside of the car.
The internal car temperature can rise 20 degrees in the first 10 minutes, which is especially dangerous during hot weather.
"It's 90 degrees. You're in your car and you have the window cracked. And you've left the child in there thinking oh I'm going to run in here for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, they'll be fine. The window is cracked. If the temperature is 90 outside, it can get to 110 in 10 minutes and that child will be dead," warned Donna McBride, Safety Educator at Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
Even in cooler weather, your car can heat up from the mid-60s to 110 degrees, so you should never leave your child or pet unattended in a car.
Children are more vulnerable to heat than adults.
"A child's core temperature when it reaches 104, 107, somewhere around that range, they run a very high risk of heat stroke," Travis Williams, Safety Officer for the Chattanooga Fire Department explained.
Always remember to look before you lock your car, or leave an important item in the back seat, such as your briefcase or phone to serve as a reminder the child is present.
As a bystander, take action if you see a child locked inside of a hot car.
"I would immediately notify 911 of the situation, and maybe look around the area for the parents. What steps they take past that is really on them," advised Williams.
By Tennessee law, you are allowed to forcibly enter a vehicle to remove a distressed child or animal.
Williams said to keep in mind that broken glass may cause cuts on the child.
"A little gadget and people can get them almost anywhere that you can break a window with, without it shattering and get into the car if you had to get in for a child," McBride stated.
The fire department has special equipment to gain access into the vehicle.
"We carry tools called a Big Easy Kit, which minimizes the damage to a vehicle, allows us to gain access. And depending on the situation, EMS might get called also," Williams said.
From 1998 to 2018, 27 pediatric car heatstroke deaths occurred in Tennessee and 32 in Georgia.
"It seems like every year the numbers of child locked in car that they go up, here locally," lamented Williams.
It is our responsibility as adults to take care of our children.
Again, you should never leave your child inside your car for any length of time.
McBride recommends to teach your children that cars are not a hiding place for hide and seek.