Why people leave kids and pets in hot cars, and how to prevent it

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Last year, 43 children in the United States died from being left in hot cars. That's why medical professionals in the metro are warning parents to look before they lock.

"There are many reasons why a parent might leave their children in a back seat," Terry Dickinson, a registered nurse and child passenger safety technician for St. Luke's Health System said. "It's not intentional, it's an accident. But it's a preventable accident."

The metro is under an excessive heat warning until Saturday evening and in these high temperatures children are among the most vulnerable for heat stroke and heat related deaths.

The CDC says temperatures inside cars can go go up 20 degrees in only ten minutes, even with the windows open. Every second counts if a child is left inside a car.

"Kid's body temperatures heat up three to five times faster than an adult's," Dicksinson said. "Parents, they can leave their children in cars when their routine has changed, or we just take a brand new mommy, she's sleep-deprived, dad is sleep-deprived."

DIckinson said once a children's temperature reaches 107 degrees, they can die of heat stroke.

Her thermometer showed how quickly the inside of cars can heat up.

"I've been here for 15 minutes with my windows down in this car and you can read we're at 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

She teaches parents to look before they lock and walk away.

"Put a stuffed animal in the front seat when the baby is on board in the back," Dickinson said. "That reminds you - hey, my baby is on board. You can even buy this tool called the Rescue Me to crack open windows in emergencies."

Dickinson also recommends leaving your purse or cell phone in the back seat, so you have even more reminders to look behind you.

Kelsey Borer, a new mom with a six-month-old, said that's a great reminder for parents.

"I have never even thought about leaving her in the back of a car but it's a good idea to keep something back there just so that you don't forget," Kelsey Borer said. "Because it's so hot."

A new law will take effect Sunday in Kansas. People will be able to break into cars to save over heated kids, pets -- any vulnerable person -- without legal penalty.

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