Local Emergency Crews Warn Cooler Temps Don't Eliminate Threat of Hot Car Deaths

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(MGN Online)

It's a scary thought, but it seems like we're hearing more and more cases of kids being left in hot cars. So far in 2014, 18 children have died in hot cars. A startling statistic made even scarier by the fact that it truly could happen to anyone.

It may only be in the upper 70's outside, but in a black car parked in the sun the temperature is more than 160 degrees.

Wausau Deputy Fire Chief Phil Rentmeester says the interior of a car can rise nearly 20 degrees in less than ten minutes.

Michelle Armstrong, Safe Kids Coordinator with Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, says parents shouldn't be fooled by our geographic location.

"Just because we live in Central Wisconsin and it doesn't get as hot as down south doesn't mean it can't happen here."

In addition to her work with Safe Kids Wausau, Armstrong is also a proud mom of two. She says often times mistakes like this happen when there's a change in routine.

"Often times data shows parents are forgetting the child if they're rushed or if their schedule changes for the day."

The best way to prevent forgetting is to be proactive.

"Put a purse, put something in the back seat with the child seat as a reminder," Rentmeester suggested. "Something that's going to stop you and remind you you need to check the back seat to make sure you have the infant or the child out."

As a precaution, Rentmeester also recommended putting a teddy bear in your child's empty car seat when the child is not riding with you. When your child is riding with you put the bear in the front seat. That way when you look over it will serve as a reminder you have a passenger in the back.

"One thing that parents and caregivers need to keep in mind is that the interior of a vehicle is not a babysitter and it is not a play area. It can turn into a tragedy," Rentmeester warned.

Another good way to remember your child is in the back seat is to set a reminder on your cellphone or make arrangements with your child's daycare or school to call you if your child is not dropped off by a certain time.

Emergency crews say you should never take it upon yourself to try and get a child out of a hot car. Instead, the best thing you can do is call 911.

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