Kids and hot cars don't mix - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Kids and hot cars don't mix

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Every year, dozens of children die after being left unattended in hot cars. And already this year, 18 children have died in hot cars in the United States.

Whether intentional, or accidental, kids and cars don't mix, and officials want to make sure parents and guardians are keeping a close watch on their most precious cargo.

One of the most uncomfortable parts of the day during south Georgia summers is opening up the car door, and feeling that rush of hot air come out, then having to cool down the car, just to make it bearable. Imagine being trapped inside for just a few minutes, or even longer. It's dangerous for us all, even more so for young children.

Tomeka Stewart straps 2-year old Madison into her car seat, making sure she is safe for the road. "She means the world to me."

A world that just wouldn't spin the same if something were to happy to her little girl.  She said, "It's precious cargo. You can't replace them. No child is like another one, so they're very precious."

That's why she never leaves Madison alone in the car. She said, "I went through so much to have her anyway, just concerned. It's hot enough for me now, I'm sweating. So I can't imagine leaving her in there by herself."

Sadly, many parents or guardians do that each year. Either by accident, or through an intentional act.

Michele Strickland said, "Children simply don't have the internal temperature regulators that adults do. They can actually suffer heat stroke, hyperthermia, 5 times more quickly than an adult."

Hyperthermia is actually the number one non-crash cause of vehicle injury or death to children under 14. A third of all children left in vehicles are done so unintentionally. If dropping off a child isn't part of your normal routine, here's a tip: Put something you'll need like a purse or briefcase in the back seat next to where the child will be sitting. Then, when you reach your final destination and reach in to get your item, you'll know if you dropped the child off or not.

Tomeka Stewart says it's worth the extra glance, just to make sure.  She said, "Constantly looking back to make sure that she's not in there, yes."

In order to make sure her precious little world, continues to spin. Kids like to play in cars, but parents should discourage them by always locking the doors. And if your child ever goes missing, check the cars first. It's often easy for kids to get inside of cars, but hard for them to get back out.

If you see children sitting in a hot car unattended, you should call 911 immediately and let paramedics check them out.