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Group Educating On The Dangers Of Kids In Hot Cars

Kids In Cars
(credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - So far this year 23 children, in 13 states, have died from hypothermia. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, in the past two weeks eight children have died from heat stroke, after being left in a hot vehicle.

On a day with mild weather, temperatures inside a car can rise nearly 20 degrees in 10 minutes.

"We want to remember that a car heats up quite dramatically. It simply does not take that long," said Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "This is the reminder to the driver, whether it's a parent or a caregiver, that you simply should not leave your child alone for any amount of time."

Heat stroke happens when the body cannot cool itself fast enough resulting in a dangerous increase in body temperature. The threat increases when you consider heat stroke and hypothermia conditions and the fact that children's bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults.

Not only is it dangerous to leave a child unattended in a vehicle, it's illegal.

"In Texas you have a law where you cannot leave a child in a car for longer than five minutes, if they are younger than seven years of age," Carr said. "So, for small children who don't have the defenses to be able to get out of a car on their own that's very, very important."

Just last month a 3-year-old boy, left inside a daycare van, died of hypothermia. The Dallas County Medical Examiner ruled that the death of Benjamin Price was an accident due to extreme heat.

According to the Price family, children at the Little T's Tiny Tots Daycare went on a field trip, to a movie theater earlier in the day. All of the children arrived back at the daycare safely, but Benjamin never made it inside.

"He was asleep and they just left him on the bus," said Benjamin's grandmother, Louria Washington.

Some 50-percent of child fatalities are related to being left inside a hot car, but that isn't the only danger.

"Sometimes kids can get into a car on their own," Carr reminded. "Children are curious by nature and they can get into the backseat of the car, or they can get into the trunk and have difficulty in getting out… that causes about 30-percent of incidences of heat stroke in vehicles."

Safe Kids Worldwide is urging everyone to ACT:

Avoid hypothermia-related deaths by never leaving your child alone in a car and always locking doors and trunks
Create reminders and habits for you and your child's caregivers to ensure you don't forget your child
Take action if you see a child unattended in a vehicle by immediately calling 911

Click here to find out more about Safe Kids Worldwide and get more information on preventing child heat stroke deaths.

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