OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Kansas City-area’s warmer-than-usual temperatures this early in May bring a rising risk of children being left in a hot car.

It happened this weekend at a Costco, when Overland Park police said parents left a 1-year-old in a hot car, with temperatures near 90 degrees. 

“All of a sudden, I just hear crying, screaming,” witness Jacob Davis said.  

Davis was putting plants in the back of his car when he heard screaming. He looked over and realized how serious the situation was.

The little girl was discolored and drenched in sweat.  

“It is very scary. It’s extremely scary, and I can’t even imagine how scary that is as a parent,” Davis said.

It happened at about 3:45 p.m. Sunday. The temperature was 88 degrees, and the heat index made it feel like 89 degrees. With car windows up, temperatures rise rapidly.

“I knew that the baby was very overheated. I could tell by just the color of the baby’s skin,” Davis said.

Both of the little girl’s parents had gone inside Costco, leaving the baby in the car alone.

“Something like that is very scary. It happened over a number of years of kids being left inside of a vehicle and they’re losing their life,” Overland Park Officer John Lacy said.

Officers responded in less than 3 minutes. The child’s parents were back at the car when they arrived.

Davis took the 1-year-old, covered in sweat and flushed, inside the store to cool off.

“It’s terrifying. Children’s little bodies – their temperatures rise 3-5 times faster than an adult, and a vehicle acts like a greenhouse, so the inside temperature heats up very quickly. Two-thirds of the increase happens in the first 10 minutes,” said Amber Rollins, director of Kids and Car Safety.

Kids and Car Safety said 38 children die every year after being left in a car.

Working for you, here are tips to avoid this:

  • Have child care contact you ASAP if your child doesn’t arrive on time. 
  • Look before you lock.  
  • Leave an item (phone, laptop, work badge) that you will need in the back seat. 
  • Use a stuffed animal in the front seat as a symbol whenever your child is in the car. 

“Could be the difference between life or death for that child,” Rollins said.

Lacy said no matter how quick your errand or run inside the store is, it’s never wise to leave your child in the car.

Overland Park police said the child is OK. Officers are still investigating, and prosecutors will decide if any charges should be filed.