With temperatures expected to stay in the 90s over the next several days, we are reminded just how hot a car can get. Unfortunately, there are cases each year of children being left in cars, where heat stroke can set in fast.
“It usually takes within 10-15 minutes before the temperature can get up to upwards of 140 degrees and a child doesn’t have the mechanisms that we have to be able to cool themselves properly, especially the younger they are; so it doesn’t take long, usually within 30 minutes, 45 minutes they can become unresponsive, stop breathing, and then we have to do resuscitative efforts after that,” says Shawn Partridge, a paramedic with Metro Ambulance Service.
We decided to test just how hot a car left out in the sun will get. The outside air temperature when we started was 89 and inside the car it was 90.5 degrees. Just 15 minutes later, we measured the car temperature to be 131.9 degrees, just about 2 degrees shy of the hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth.
First responders act quickly when calls are received of children left in vehicles.
“Usually it’s a joint effort with [paramedics] and the Meridian Fire Department; usually they get there and see if they can get access into the vehicle and once they do that, we get there and we’re able to get to the child, we assess them to see what their airway is, what their level of consciousness is, and base our treatment of on that,” Partridge explains.
There are tips you can follow to make sure you never accidentally leave a child in the backseat of a car.
“If parent could have a reminder that, ‘hey, I’ve got my child with me,’ whether it’s something hanging in the rear-view mirror, whether it’s an extra mirror where they have an adjusted focus on their child, just something that they know that their child is with them, a lot of the time that would help prevent a lot of things that we come across in the city,” Partridge says.