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Experts warn parents of dangers of leaving kids in cars on hot days

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- It's a timely reminder as temperatures continue to heat up: never leave your child in a car unattended.

Experts at the Children's Hospital of Colorado in Colorado Springs said kids have overheated in cars when temperatures were in the 60s.

It takes just 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to go up 20 degrees.

Amanda Abramcyk-Thill, Injury Prevention Coordinator with the Children's Hospital, said kids are at a much higher risk of over-heating in cars because they do not regulate their internal temperature as well as adults. When a child's temperature reaches 104 degrees, they're at severe risk of heatstroke. By 107 degrees, the situation could be fatal.

In about 20% of cases where a child dies in a hot car, the child gained access to the car without the parent or guardian's knowledge and couldn't get themselves out.

"A child may go looking for candy, or money, or maybe they are going to play hide and seek or play around in the car, and pretend to drive like mom and dad do, " said Abramczyk-thill. "Unfortunately they lock themselves in, and sometimes they're so small that they can't get themselves out, so always locking your vehicle is important."

In both 2018 and 2019, 53 kids died nationwide from being left in a hot car. In 2020, that number dropped to 24.
Experts say the decrease is likely from fewer people traveling due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Many instances when kids are left in cars happen as parents have a change in routine, like if a parent has to drop their kid off at daycare before work when their spouse is usually in charge of drop-offs. The parent forgets their child is in the backseat and accidentally heads straight to work.

One way you can make sure you're not forgetting your kid in the backseat is the left shoe trick. You take off your shoe, and put it next to the child in the backseat. You'll need your right shoe to drive, but your left shoe to walk. The idea is that when you get out of the car, you'll remember the shoe, and the child in the backseat.

Experts stress that even the most attentive of parents have forgotten their kids in the backseat of a car.

Colorado Springs / Local News

Mia Villanueva

Mia is a weekday reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Mia here.



  1. Moms, dad’s, whoever if youre that stupid, high, preoccupied, maybe DONT have kids. Oh ya, when it’s cold outside don’t forget to put a coat and shoes on your kid, and hotdogs and red bull isn’t a good breakfast for a three year old either.

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