Tuesday, July 1 2014, 05:18 PM CDT
Hot car dangers
PHOENIX, Arizona -- When summer temperatures rise, your sizzling steering wheel and scorching seats can be annoying, but for children, hot cars can be deadly.
It is shocking, but much more common than you might think -- Children being left in hot cars when temperatures are soaring.
"This happens to the most loving and caring parents. Literally, we have had a veterinarian, a doctor, a dentist, a professor, a school principal and even a rocket scientist," Susan Auriemma, vice president of Kidsandcars.org, said.
Daniel Gray was just sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter after leaving his infant in a car for three hours during a hot Arizona summer.
And Shanesha Taylor of Scottsdale left her child in the car in March with the windows cracked open while she went on a job interview. She is being charged with felony child abuse. She has pleaded not guilty.
"There are an average of 38 per year, children who die in a hot car. It's 38 children too many. It's too much of a tragedy for these families," Auriemma said.
According to a San Francisco State University study since 1998, there have been 619 heatstroke deaths of children left in cars. More than half were forgotten by their caregiver. While 18 percent were left on purpose. Another 29 percent were playing in an unattended car.
"One of the messages we try to get across to parents is that no one is immune to this. It really could happen to anyone," she explained.
How quickly does a temperature rise inside of a car, even if it is not that hot outside?
The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a study and the results were stunning.
Even on a cool 73 degree day, the temperature goes up an average of more than three degrees every five minutes. Temperatures rise faster in the first 30 minutes as it quickly shoots above 100 degrees.
Even in relatively cool vehicles, temperatures reached upwards of 117 degrees even when the windows are cracked.
Some believe the answer is technology. There are solutions intended to solve this problem. One young, aspiring inventor created a leash to remind parents there is still a child left in the car. But will parents buy in?
"The biggest challenge with technology is convincing parents that they need it. No parent wants to believe this could happen to them," Auriemma said.
A crucial warning with the hottest days of the year still to come.