Brown Co. Sheriff reminds public of dangers of leaving children in cars

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HIAWATHA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Brown County Sheriff, John Merchant, would like to remind the community of the dangers of leaving children and pets unattended in a vehicle.

Last year Merchant attended a safety conference and spoke to a woman who had only left her child in the car for a few moments and the child had died from the high temperatures on a sunny day.

With COVID-19 precautions in place there is more concern about leaving children and pets alone in vehicles. Although many feel that leaving the vehicle running with the A/C on or windows opens is safe, Sheriff Merchant would like to remind everyone that it is not. Engines may quit and temperatures can rise in a matter of minutes.

If it becomes necessary to leave a child or pet in the car the Sheriff says that an older adult or family member should stay and supervise the vehicle.

Statistics show that a child dies from heatstroke due to being left in a car once every 10 days. Heatstroke is the number 1 leading cause of non-crash related vehicle fatalities for children under 15.

The inside of a vehicle heats up more quickly than air-temperature outside, even with windows cracked temperatures can reach 125 degrees within minutes. Temperatures increase 80% within the first 10 minutes of the car turning off. Children have died with temperatures outside the car being as low as 60 degrees.

Signs of heatstroke are:
Red, hot and moist or dry skin.
No sweating.
Strong rapid pulse or slow weak pulse.
Throbbing headache.
Dizziness and Nausea.
Confusion, being grouchy or acting strangely.

Sheriff Merchant urges the public to call 911 immediately upon seeing a child alone in a vehicle and to stay with them until help arrives.