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Hot vehicle dangerous for children

Updated: Thursday, July 10 2014, 11:43 PM CDT
PORT ARTHUR - by Lauren Huet

Temperatures are climbing as we get into the heat of summer, and first responders are warning parents not to leave their children in a hot vehicle. Three Texas children have died so far this year from heat exposure after being left in a vehicle.

Dorothy Thomson is a mother and grandmother, and urges parents never to leave their kids in a hot car.

"It's cruel. The kids can't talk, some of them, this one wouldn't be able to tell you he's hot," said Thomson, as she held her young grandson.

Parents out running errands agree.

"How can you forget your kid on a hot day in a car?" said Adrana Lopez, as she held her young son. "And sometimes I get upset because I wouldn't do that to my kid."

"Please never, never leave a child in a car ever for anything," said Carol Scoggins, holding one of her sons.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, it only takes 15 minutes in 100 degree weather for the inside of a vehicle to reach a temperature of 140 degrees.

"Children, their defense mechanisms aren't as strong as adults and they will become hyperthermic a lot quicker than we will," said Battallion Chief for the Port Arthur Fire Department Mike Free. "Brain damage can occur at 107 degrees core body temperature."

Chief Free says it doesn't take long for children to overheat.

"Within about 10 minutes they can become hyperthermic, and pass out, and become unresponsive," said Free. "At that point it gets really critical."

So far this year, a total of 16 children in the U.S. have died from heat exposure after being left in a hot vehicle.

"I just cry. It's heartbreaking," said Scoggins. "The child didn't deserve to suffer for the parents mistake, and it's suffering, it's got to be unbearable."

"Always double check the back seat. Please don't let your kids die like that," said Lopez.

It is illegal to leave a child under the age of seven unattended in a vehicle for more than five minutes. If the child is uninjured, it's a misdemeanor. If the child is injured, it becomes a felony.Hot vehicle dangerous for children


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