Don’t take the chance

Published 1:50 pm Thursday, July 27, 2017

North Carolina is in the top five when it comes to the number of deaths of children in hot cars, tied with Georgia at 27 deaths in the past 18 years, according to data compiled by the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University.

Do 27 deaths sound like a low number over the course of almost two decades? In comparison to other states, it’s actually a large tally, and the reality is that even one death is too many.

Every summer, there are issues with children and pets being left in hot cars. In many cases, they experience heat-related illness, but someone luckily corrects the situation before it turns fatal. When running errands with the children and grandchildren, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to dash into the store for an item and leave young passengers in the car to avoid extra hassle. What can happen in five minutes?

A lot, actually.

“When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In just five minutes, the temperature inside an enclosed car can rise by 10 degrees, and by almost 20 degrees in 10 minutes, according to a study from San Francisco State University.

Do the math. On a 95-degree day in eastern North Carolina, that means a child left in the car for five minutes will likely be exposed to a temperature of 105 degrees.

Cracking the windows does not offer enough relief to dispel the danger. One study found that a car’s inside temperature on a 90-degree day still rose to 108 degrees, even with all four windows cracked.

Don’t take any chances this summer when it comes to heat-related illnesses. Spending time with one’s children and grandchildren is a great summer pastime, but if not careful, it can turn deadly. Not taking necessary precautions and leaving their well-being up to fate is simply unacceptable.