In Cobb County on Wednesday, a 22-month-old child died after reportedly being left by accident inside a broiling hot SUV for more than seven hours.
It came after a 9-month-old Florida girl died on Tuesday after being left in a pickup truck by her father. According to KidsandCars.org, babies dying in hot cars happens about 38 times per year across the United States.
Such deaths continue to occur with disturbing frequency, happening to parents from all walks of life. According to the KidsandCars organization that tracks fatalities involving kids and vehicles, the two child deaths this week are thought to be the 13th and 14th in the country this year as a result of heatstroke from inside a vehicle.
The Georgia toddler who died Wednesday is believed to be the eighth to have died since 2010 in the state due to being left inside a hot vehicle.
The tragedy comes less than three weeks after the "Look Again" campaign was launched in Georgia. In the YouTube ad, state leaders, as well as a father of a 2-year-old heatstroke victim, call for parents and caregivers of children to have heightened awareness this summer of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles.
Bobby Cagle, Commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), said over 375,000 children across the state depend on approximately 6,000 child care providers daily most of whom transport children on a regular basis to and from home, after school to the child care center, and on field trips.
“We receive calls about incidents where children are left in vehicles from a few minutes to several hours and we investigate each incident,” Cagle said in a statement. “According to our records, in FY2012, 21 children were left in vehicles by child care providers; 17 in FY2013; and already 18 in FY2014. While thankfully we have not seen any child deaths in child care centers since 2011, we want these dangerous close calls to decrease. Consequently, safely transporting children will remain a focus for our agency.”
When outside temperatures are in the 60s, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to more than 110 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Temperatures can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes inside a car.
“Even with a window rolled down two inches, if the outside temperature is in the low 80s° Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes,” the NHTSA reports. Further, children’s bodies do not regulate heat as well as adults. “In fact, when left in a hot vehicle, a young child's body temperature may increase three to five times as fast an adult. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death.”
Added Governor Nathan Deal, “I ask that all Georgians join me in preventing future loss of life by being aware of your surroundings and never taking the chance of leaving a child in a car, even for just a minute. Lives can be saved if we take the time to Look Again.”