Doctors warn against heat-related dangers that come with leaving - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Doctors warn against heat-related dangers that come with leaving kids in cars

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The case of a Georgia father accused of killing his son by leaving him to die in a hot car has drawn a lot of attention this week.

Justin Ross Harris, 33, is facing murder and cruelty charges for the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris.

Investigators say the child was left in the car for about 7 hours.

This all happened on a June day near Atlanta, when temperatures climbed into the high 80's.

While the case continues, it's a firm reminder of the heat related dangers that can come with kids and cars this time of the year.

On Wednesday, a 3-year-old boy in Lancaster was hospitalized after locking himself in a car.

Doctors say for young children especially the heat inside can prove fatal.

"A car can heat up very quickly in just a matter of minutes," said emergency room physician Todd Crump. "Currently there's an average of 38 deaths in the United States from vehicular hypothermia."

Crump said most of those cases each year are young children who die inside parked cars by accident because their parents forgot about them.

Succumbing to heat that can cause the heart to race --- rapid breathing, and loss of conscious.

"Pretty much a heat stroke and babies and small children are most vulnerable because they just don't have the reserves that adults do," Crump said.

Drivers say sometimes conditions inside their vehicle are so uncomfortable, they need to take their time getting in.

"You don't really wanna be in there," said Khyle Eaton. "It's like a little heat box."

Doctors say the trapped hot air is most dangerous.

"When it has nowhere to go… getting hotter as a parked car sits in the summer sun

and if there's people sitting inside, conditions can be deadly," Crump said.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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