'Never Leave Your Child Alone' organizers show dangers of hot cars

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SALT LAKE CITY — Associated Retail Stores and Primary Children's Medical Center teamed up Tuesday to launch the Never Leave Your Child Alone safety campaign. They want to remind parents it is never safe to leave children unattended in a vehicle.

Safety Facts:
According to data provided by Primary Children's Medical Center:
  • 33 percent of children who die from being left in a hot car are less than 1 year old
  • Cracking your vehicle's windows has very little effect on its temperature
  • When left in a hot vehicle, a child's body temperature can increase three to five times as fast as an adult's
  • Children left unattended in a vehicle are at risk of being kidnapped
  • Children left alone in a car can push buttons, disengage the brakes, put the car in gear, or even leave the vehicle and walk away

To get the point across on a hot day, they brought in a tray full of cookie dough.

"These cookies are melting, they're sliding down the cookie tray right now," said Janet Brooks, pointing to the cookie sheet that had been placed on the dashboard of the car. "It's hotter than you or I would like to be exposed to."

On Tuesday the outside temperature reached more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Within 30 minutes, a thermometer showed the temperature inside car has risen to 150 F.

In the past year alone, local fire and police personnel responded to more than 1,000 calls of children left unattended in vehicles — many in grocery store parking lots.

A local mother, Brooke Muir, said she's sometimes tempted to leave her children in the car "because it's a lot of work getting three kids out, buckling of car seats in and out; and they're not happy about it either, going in and out."

"People get tempted because they think, ‘Well, I'll just be in there a few minutes.' But once you're educated and see how quick things heat up, it's obviously not worth the danger," said Steven Rich, with Associated Retail Stores.

According to Primary Children's Medical Center, kids are especially at risk because their bodies heat up much faster than adults. If left too long in high temperatures, they can suffer heat stroke — which can be fatal.

If you ever see a child left unattended in a vehicle, you should call 911.

Written by KSL News producer Ashley Kewish with contributions from Nadine Wimmer.

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