The dangers of children left in unattended cars

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, since 1998, 882 children have died due to heat stroke after being left in unattended cars. In 2020 alone, 24 children died nationally.


When left in a hot car, a child’s major organs begin to shut down at 104 degrees. It only takes 10 minutes for a car to heat up an additional 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees, there is still a risk.


Experts say most of these accidents happen when a parent is distracted or rushed. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind: be extra alert when there is a change in routine, avoid additional distractions and cell phone use, or even consider putting your cell phone or bag in the back to give yourself that extra reminder to look in the backseat. Never leave a child alone in a locked car when running errands.


Bystanders are encouraged to call 911 if you ever spot a child left unattended because you could end up saving a life.

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