CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – During the summer months it doesn’t take long for the air inside a hot car to spike well above the outside temperature. Within minutes the sweltering heat in your car becomes dangerous and even deadly.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 40 children a year die from heatstroke, either because they were left or became trapped in a car. That’s about one child every 10 days killed in a hot car. The majority of hot car deaths happen because someone forgets a child in a car.

Many people think, well that could never happen to me, but it happens more often than we think. About 46% of the time when a child was forgotten the caregiver meant to drop the child off at a daycare or preschool. More than half of the deaths are children under 2 years old.

A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. When a child is left in a vehicle, that child’s temperature can rise quickly and the situation can quickly become dangerous.

Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended for any length of time. Check the back seat. Parents and caregivers should get in the habit of always checking the back seat before walking away and locking the doors. Caregivers can ask their childcare provider to call if their child doesn’t show up for care as expected.

If you see a child alone in a hot car, call 911 immediately. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible.

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Melissa Torres is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2021. Follow Melissa on X @melissatorrestv and view her bio to see more of her work.