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Published June 14, 2012, 09:29 PM

As Summer Temps Arrive, Parents Reminded on Hot Car Safety

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The weather is heating up and we've heard some recent reports of parents charged with child endangerment. Experts urge you never to leave your children in the car, not even for a minute.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The weather is heating up and we've heard some recent reports of parents charged with child endangerment.

Experts urge you never to leave your children in the car, not even for a minute.

"There is never a safe amount of time to leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Oftentimes a couple minutes turns into a lot longer time and you never know how long it's going to take for something to happen to that child," Safe Kids Grand Forks coordinator Carma Hanson said.

The danger comes from hyperthermia, or heat stroke, where body temperature rises to dangerous levels. On an average summer day, the temperature in a car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.

When the body temperature reaches 104 degrees, internal organs begin to shut down. At 107 degrees, the person dies.

And it doesn't have to be scorching outside. Children have died in vehicles in temperatures less than 70 degrees.

"The temperature outside and inside can vary between 20 and 40 degrees, so it might be a 65 degree day and within an hour's time, it could be 40 degrees different, so it could be 100 degrees in a car even on a cool day," Hanson said.

Symptoms of heat stroke include disorientation, seizure, loss of consciousness and hallucinations. Without the car on, there's nothing you can do to protect yourself.

"Cracking a window has very little effect on the inside temperature of the vehicle. North Dakota is not a state that has a law saying it's illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle. However, we hope parents use common sense and realize that there shouldn't have to be a law saying that something unsafe like that is OK," Hanson said.

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