The shocking news of a Pennsylvania boy who died in a burning car Thursday is a sad reminder to parents: don’t leave your kids (or pets!) in the car unattended.
A three-month-old Upper St. Clair boy died June 16 after being left “for several hours” in his parents’ car. The child’s death is being investigated by police in Pennsylvania.
The baby is now the fifth child to die in a burning vehicle in the United States this year.
On average, 38 children die in burning cars each year in America – one death every nine days, according to the safety organization Child and car safety. Their group, alongside the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, recently asked the US Department of Transportation to ensure child protection provisions are added to the recent Congressional infrastructure bill.
Advocates report that 1,000 children have died in hot cars nationwide since 1990, and 56% of children who died in hot car incidents were left in the vehicle by accident.
The majority of children (87%) who died after being left in hot cars are aged three and under, while just over half (54%) were still infants.
Experts say that even with a window open, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes, and 80% of the temperature rise occurs within the first 10 minutes of being in a parked car. A child’s body overheats three to five times faster than an adult’s, leading to irreversible damage occurring within minutes.
The leading cause of death is heat stroke or hyperthermia, which occurs when a body overheats and cannot cool itself.
In southern Pennsylvania, where the little boy died this week, temperatures had peaked at around 87 degrees.
“Unfortunately, this is yet another example of why it is extremely important to have effective occupant detection technology as standard equipment in all vehicles as soon as possible,” said Janette Fennell, Founder and President. of Kids and Car Safety, in a statement. shared with Fox News Digital Thursday.
In the absence of such widespread technology, parents are encouraged to ensure their vehicles are locked at all times, to prevent children from accidentally locking themselves in the car.
To say in the habit of always checking the backseat before getting out of the vehicle, advocates also suggest keeping a crucial item – a purse, wallet or work badge – in the backseat with baby, so that you always looked back before continuing your day. .