Hot cars pose serious threat to children

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Summer temperatures are raising concerns for doctors and nurses across the Miami Valley.

They’re warning parents about the dangers of leaving your child in a hot car.

Wednesday, a Cobbs County, Georgia 22-month-old boy died  after officials said his father accidentally left him in a hot car for at least 7 hours, while he was at work.

33-year-old Justin Ross Harris has now been charged with murder for the death of his son.

Miami Valley officials have taken notice of this incident and other and want to warn parents from making the same deadly mistake.

But officials told 2NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé that a majority of these incidents aren’t because of careless parents.

Instead, they said it’s often distracted parents who can end up making a fatal mistake.

Every summer more than 30 children across the nation die from being left behind in a car.

20 percent of the time it’s intentional, but the other 80 is not.

Officials said often times a change in your normal routine throws off parents.

“it really doesn’t take long for a child to get in trouble in the summertime. A car in the summer can– the heat can rise inside that car by 19 degrees in a 10-minute period so when it goes– when it’s 100 outside if that 10 minutes– if you have that 10 minutes, it’s a 119 in that car, too hot to touch,” said Lisa Schwing, a nurse with the trauma department at Dayton Children’s Medical Center.

Schwing said it only takes 107 degrees for a child to face serious damage, including organ failure, irreversible brain damage and even death.

Children simply don’t stand a fighting chance against the hot conditions inside the care.

Schwing said that “… a child’s brain is immature the parts of the brain that regulate a child’s temperature are immature and there temperature spikes real quick.”

Leaving a child in the car isn’t the only danger; unlocked cars are just as dangerous for children playing outdoors.

While officials say prevention is difficult to measure, they say two tips work.

1. Place an item you need for the day with your child.
2. Put your child’s favorite stuffed animal or toy in the front seat.

Each of these can help remind you that your children are there.

Officials also 2NEWS that despite the myths, these accidents happen with both new and seasoned parents, which is why they are urging all adults to take extra precautions. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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