ATHENS, Ga., June 30 (UPI) — University of Georgia researchers say they developed a tool to help officials warn parents against leaving a child in a vehicle, risking exposure to heat.
Study leader Andrew Grundstein said there is never a reason to leave a child in a car unattended because the risks of abduction or injury abound, but about 40 U.S. children die each year from being left in cars that become too hot.
“Most of the time, caregivers simply forget their children, but more than a quarter of deaths in this situation involve children intentionally left in cars,” Grundstein said in a statement. “In some cases, parents just don’t want to disturb a sleeping child. Such behavior shows a clear lack of understanding about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles.”
Grundstein and colleagues developed a table of vehicle temperature changes indicating that in hot weather in an open parking lot, the inside temperature of a vehicle can rise by 7 degrees Fahrenheit in 5 minutes, 13 degrees in 10 minutes, 29 degrees in 30 minutes and 47 degrees in an hour.
For example, on a 90-degree F day, temperatures within a vehicle would reach an “excessive heat advisory” in about 10 minutes and an “excessive heat warning” in less than 30 minutes.
The findings are published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
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