Health professionals warn of dangers of hot cars in "cooler" temps

(MGN Online)
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Despite the cooler weather in the forecast, medical professionals are warning people about the dangers of leaving kids in cars.

The inside of a car can heat up 40 degrees above the outside temperature. Police say it's not a place to leave or forget kids and pets in cars, thinking they'll be safe, especially in the summer.

“Primary effects are on the central nervous system, and the heart,” Bill Barkley, the Marshfield Clinic District Medical Director said. “Eventually, that leads to things shutting down.”

Children died in cars this summer in Texas, Georgia and Connecticut and others were rescued in Florida and New Mexico.

Josh Pekol, a firefighter paramedic in Chippewa Falls said he's glad he hasn't had to respond to a case like this, but the department is prepared.

“We train fully in taking care of heat related emergencies, if a child were to be trapped in a car, odds are we'd try to find the keys first, but if we couldn't in a short period of time, we'd break a window to try to get in,” Pekol said.

Barkley said there's no safe alternative to keeping kids outside a hot car.

“Cracking a window actually does not really make difference in how fast the car heats up,” Barkley said.

The Eau Claire Police Department has responded to recent reports of pets in cars, and officer Kyle Roder said criminal charges are possible.

“It could go anywhere from warning and educating to criminal charges, so make sure you're smart and always err on the side of caution,” Roder said.

“Do not leave children in a car, intentionally. Don't leave them, it's dangerous, bring them with you and do what you can to avoid unintentionally,” Barkley said.

“The other thing too is if you encounter a vehicle with a child in it, call 911 because really, you might save a life.”

Wisconsin law says anyone who leaves children in a car unattended could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, if they're harmed.

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