CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Three South Carolina children have died so far in 2021 after being left inside hot cars, leaving the state 15th in the nation for the number of children who have died in that manner.
“Parents who have young children are nonstop sleep-deprived, and this truly does impact the way your memory systems function,” said Amber Rollins, Director of Kids and Cars Safety.
Experts say when temperatures outside are 80 degrees, temperatures inside the car can rise to 130 degrees. But even lower temperatures can be dangerous.
“It doesn’t have to be very hot outside a vehicle acts like a greenhouse and traps in that heat and heats up very quickly,” said Rollins.
A child can die in a car as quickly as 30 minutes if left alone in the summer heat. Younger children are especially vulnerable, as their temperatures rise three to five times as fast.
“About 88% of children who die in hot car deaths are age 3 and under,” said Rollins.
Dr. Virginie Daguise with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control explained that “infants are especially susceptible to heatstroke due to their inability to control their internal body temperature.”
Many details, such as the color of the car, whether it has tinted windows, and how tightly the child is strapped in, are factors in how long a child can withstand being in a hot car.