Child safety advocates warn about dangers of hot cars, even in mild temperatures

According to, on average 38 children will die each year of a heat stroke from...
According to, on average 38 children will die each year of a heat stroke from being left in a car or getting into a hot car.(wbtv)
Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 3:31 PM EDT
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GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - As we enter the summer season, first responders and child safety advocates are urging parents to be conscious and set reminders, so children are not accidentally left or able to get into a hot car.

According to, an average of about 38 children die of vehicular heat stroke each year. In 2020, 25 children died from a heatstroke while in a car and already four children have died from it in 2021.

Thursday, Gaston County Police responded to an incident at Industrial Fabricators on York Highway. A 2-year-old child was found dead in a car. The child was reportedly inside the car for an extensive period of time. Police are investigating, but they believe it was a “tragic mistake.”

Jackie Quinley is the coordinator of Safe Kids of Gaston County. She educates parents on safe practices to prevent children from being injured or killed. She joined the organization when she became a mother 10 years ago.

“I was always concerned about traveling in the car with a kid and asking what I could do to mess it up. Because they just kind of give you this baby and you go home to take care of it, but you don’t know anything,” Quinley said.

Some of the prevention efforts includes educating people on how quickly a car can heat up. Saturday, Quinley will be at the Wow Supermarket in Gastonia from noon to 4 p.m. with a display to warn parents of the dangers of hot cars.

She said most of the time kids are left or get into a hot car accidentally. She also said sometimes it’s caused by a change in routine.

“If mom normally drops the kids of at daycare, then dad takes the child one day. It’s generally a change in behavior. Maybe you take a different route to work one day, everyone has gone into autopilot and are like ‘Oh, how did I get here’,” Quinley said.

To remind yourself to check the backseat, Quinley suggested leaving your shoe, purse, cellphone, or something you can’t leave without in the backseat to force yourself to go back there. Some car manufacturers also offer features that remind you to check the backseat when you lock the car.

Other times, a child gets into an unlocked car themselves.

“If the car is parked in the driveway, they can accidentally get locked it in it. Its jut kids being kids and they can get locked in it and not be able to get out,” Quinley said

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a child’s internal body temperature can heat up three to five times faster than an adult. When a child’s temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin shutting down. Safe Kids Worldwide reports that when a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.

For more information on vehicular heat strokes, click here.

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