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OREM— Twenty minutes in a hot car is enough time to drain anyone, but a police officer said he spent that amount of time in his cruiser on a sweltering Tuesday afternoon to send a cautionary message to parents about leaving children inside vehicles.
“You’re just sitting there, you’re cooking,” Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez said. “It’s literally what it felt like.”
Martinez directly referenced a case in which a 3-year-old boy from Fillmore recently died after being left in a car at a Las Vegas resort for roughly an hour.
A 2-year-old from Idaho also died in June after police say he was in a hot car in St. George for at least six hours.
“A child strapped into a car seat, you know, bundled up in a blanket, is going to get a lot hotter than I was,” Martinez said. “I can’t imagine, you know, being strapped where you can’t do anything.”
Even for just 20 minutes with paramedics nearby, Martinez said his heart rate increased 47 beats per minute and his core temperature went up close to 3 degrees.
“Just imagine how miserable a child would be in the same circumstance,” Martinez said.
Martinez cited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics that show 53 percent of child hot car deaths from 1998 to 2014 were due to parents and caregivers forgetting the children were in the cars.
He encouraged parents to be extra mindful of the temperatures and cautious not to leave their children in hot cars. He also recommended even leaving an additional valuable with the child, such as a wallet or a phone.
“This is just, you know, another friendly reminder,” Martinez said. “Hopefully, maybe, we can prevent another bad thing from happening.”