KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee is ranked eighth in the nation for most hot car deaths. That is why the Injury Prevention Team with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is working to make sure families in Knoxville don’t become another statistic.
The team did this with a simple demonstration on the hospital’s campus throughout the day Wednesday, June 1. It involved an SUV and temperature readings from both inside and outside the vehicle.
“We’re registering to be 89.3° and inside the car, we are registering at 120° and this probe has not been plugged up very long, not even an hour, and within ten minutes the temperature of a car had already reached a temperature that is hot enough to cook some food,” explained Shenaiah Thomas, the Injury Prevention Coordinator for Children’s.
Thomas sent WATE 6 News photos of the temperature readings throughout the day. By 1 p.m. the temperature inside the SUV had reached 150° and by 3 p.m. the temperature was 163°, according to the ETCH provided thermometer for the demonstration.
Thomas said that was also with a couple of the windows cracked, warning people that cracking a window will not prevent heatstroke or heat-related deaths.
She also said people need to remember to ACT. ACT stands for avoiding heatstroke-related injuries, create reminders and take action.
As far as creating reminders goes, Thomas said adults should put something they need in the backseat next to whoever may be there so they are reminded of their presence when they turn to retrieve the item. This can be something like a wallet, phone or purse.
She also said it’s important to say something it you see something. She said once a child is spotted in the backseat of a hot car, the bystander needs to call 911 immediately.
“Once you call 911, rescue measures can go ahead and go into place,” she said. “You can break the car window, whatever you need to do to help and get that child out of the car.” When it comes to any legal repercussions, that is where the Good Samaritan Law comes into play.
Thomas also warned that children can also sneak into vehicles when they’re in your own garage or driveway to play in, adding it’s important you keep your vehicles locked at all times so kids do not get trapped in them accidentally.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared the signs and symptoms for several heat related illnesses.